The United States (plaintiff) prosecuted Rakes and others (defendants) for banking crimes. The jury trial took place in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. A day before the case went to the jury, a man named Martin offered a bribe to one of the jurors, T. L. Madison. Madison promptly notified the trial judge, who determined that the incident did not unduly influence Madison and that therefore Madison could remain on the jury. The jurors deliberated for three days, suggesting it was difficult for them to reach a verdict. On the final night of the jurors' deliberations, Madison discussed the bribe offer with several fellow jurors. The next morning, the jury convicted most of the defendants, who then appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The appellate court remanded the case for a new district court judge to hear the defendants' motion for a new trial. Witnesses at the hearing included the jurors, who denied having been improperly influenced by Martin's bribe offer or Madison's discussion of that offer.