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Great Sedition Trial of 1944 (censored on Wikipedia)
The trial began April 17, 1944, after a number of attempts by Federal authorities to frame charges robust enough to survive Grand Jury hearings, but was characterised by an inability on the part of prosecuters to prove specific intent to overthrow the government. Rather, it appears to have consisted of months of the prosecuter, O. John Rogge, reading the writings of the defendants to an increasingly weary jury. A mistrial was declared on November 29, 1944, some time after the death of the trial judge, ex-congressman Edward C. Eicher.
In part because of the abject failure of the trial, which ended "in tragedy and farce" , it is notable as one of a number in the US in which the dictates of freedom - especially of freedom of speech - have been set against concepts of national security. The most obvious near comparison, from the immediate post-war era, was that of McCarthyism and the congressional hearings arising out of Joseph McCarthy's intense anticommunist allegations.
There were other notable Smith Act Trials including the 1941 trial and conviction of James P. Cannon, Grace Carlson, Harry DeBoer, Max Geldman and thirteen other leaders of the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party and the indictment and trials in the years following World War II of over 140 leaders of the Communist Party USA. Nevertheless, the 1944 trial of suspected Nazis and fascists is used by some far-right groups, historical revisionists and anti-Semites as an example of alleged Jewish / Zionist control of or influence on American life and policy.
to be continued...
- The Great Sedition Trial of 1944: A Personal Memoir by David Baxter, last surviving member of the defendants