The United States government (plaintiff) prosecuted "Beanny" Day and Eric Sheffey (defendants) for murdering Gregory Williams. Before trial, the judge ruled government witness Kerry Mason's proffered testimony was inadmissible hearsay. Mason would have testified that a few minutes before his murder, Williams gave Mason a note inscribed "Beanny, Eric 635-3135," and that Williams also told Mason that Day and Sheffey argued with Williams over stolen guns and coats and were "out to get on" Williams, and that if Williams was not at home the next day Mason should call police and give them the telephone number. The government appealed the judge's evidentiary ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The government sought to admit Mason’s testimony that Williams told Mason to call the police and give them the number on the paper if he was not at home the next day, arguing that while Williams' statement was inadmissible as proof of its assertions, it was admissible for other nonhearsay purposes.