Rabbi Jacob Bienefeld and his son, Myron, went on trial in Manhattan Special Sessions Court yesterday on a charge of conspiracy to defraud in connection with an alleged charity racket. The trial will be continued Thursday morning.
Witnesses yesterday were former Magistrate Hyman Bushell, Detective Harry Lichtblau and Carl F. Ruck.
Bushell told of a trap set for Rabbi Bienefeld’s son after Rudy Vallee had been approached for a donation to the Downtown Center of Relief, run by Rabbi Bienefeld.
He testified that he posed as Vallee’s secretary and that Rabbi Bienefeld, posing over the telephone as “Judge Ruck,” promised to fix cases for him in return for a donation.
Detective Lichtblau told the court of being present when Myron Bienefeld, acting as messenger, came to collect the check and was placed under arrest.
Mr. Ruck, a justice of the peace on Long Island, denied giving Rabbi Bienefeld permission to use his name in soliciting donations.
When Rabbi Bienefeld was arraigned in Magistrates Court last July, Mr. Bushell and Deputy Welfare Commissioner Stanley H. Howe testified that the Downtown Center is a “racket.”