On January 3, 1944 thirty opponents of American involvement in the war against Germany went to trial for charges of violating the Smit Act of 1940. The charges stemmed from their involvement in fascist movements and from cooperation with German forces. The defendants opposed war against Germany and espoused rabid anti-Semitism. A high percentage of the defendants came from California, including Noble, Jones, Schwinn and Diebel.
The trial began April 17, 1944, but the prosecution had a difficult time proving specific intent to undermine the morale of the armed forces or to cause armed revolt. The defense attorneys denied the government's contention of an overall Nazi plan to undermine the military's morale. This trial led to the reexamination of our freedoms and our responsibilities. Left wing liberals supported the trial but later this attempt to suppress civil rights undermined their fight for freedom of speech and press. The trial ended in tragedy and farce. Public opinion turned in favor of the defendants and due to the death of the judge, a mistrial was declared November 29, 1944.