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James Files (Sutton) was born in Alabama in January 1942. His family moved to Chicago and he lived there until joining the United States Army and served with the 82nd Airborne in Vietnam (1959-60). After leaving the army he met Charlie Nicoletti, a leading figure in the Chicago Mafia. Files was involved in the Bay of Pigs invasion. In 1962 Files claims that he met Lee Harvey Oswald in Clinton, Louisiana.
In 1963 Files was recruited by Nicoletti to take part in the killing of John F. Kennedy. Nicoletti claimed that the assassination was being organized by Sam Giancana, Johnny Roselli and David Atlee Phillips. Files claims that Lee Harvey Oswald was involved in the plot and speculated that his role was to plant the Mannlicher Rifle and shells in the Texas Book Depository.
On 22nd November, 1963, Files drove to Fort Worth where he met Johnny Roselli, Jack Ruby and Jim Brading. At the meeting Ruby handed Rosselli an envelope that contained Secret Service identifications and an updated motorcade route map of Dallas.
Files and Nicoletti went to Dealey Plaza at about 10 a.m. It was agreed that Files would use his Remington Fireball gun from behind the fence on the Grassy Knoll and that Nicoletti would position himself in the Dal-Tex Building. Files believes that Nicoletti's bullets hit both John F. Kennedy and John Connally. However, Files claimed that his bullet that hit Kennedy in the head. Apparently Files was given $30,000 for his role in the assassination. Files continued to work for Charlie Nicoletti until he was murdered on 29th March, 1977.
Files was arrested on 5th August, 1991 and charged with attempting to kill a policeman called David Ostertag. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison and is currently a prisoner in Stateville Prison in Illinois.
In 1994 Files told his story to Joe West. After the death of West the project was taken over by Bob Vernon. The story was eventually appeared in a video The Murder of JFK: Confession of an Assassin (1996).
The confession made by Files was undermined by research carried out by Edward Jay Epstein. With the help of private detective, Jules Kroll, Epstein established from telephone records Files was in Chicago, not Dallas, on 22nd November, 1963.
John R. Stockwell also researched the story and came up with several reasons why it is not true. He points out that Fines makes factual mistakes in his confession about Lee Harvey Oswald, Sam Giancana, and David Atlee Phillips (see below). Stockwell also points out that it was highly unlikely that the Mafia would still be planning the assassination of John F. Kennedy on the morning of 22nd November, 1963.
(1) Jim Files, confession made to Robert G. Vernon (22nd March, 1994)
Q: Were you ever in the armed services?
A: I was in the 82nd Airborne. I went in '59...1959, date of entry... January and in July 10 of 1959, I believe it was July 10, we shipped out to Laos. I was 82nd Airborne.
Q: What were some of your duties?
A: My duties at that time... we were working a special operations group to work with the Laotian Army in Laos at that time. I was there strictly as an advisor on training... with small automatic weapons... setting detonators, explosives, mechanical ambushes. There was just a handful of Americans working with the Laotians at that time...
Q: Could you tell me how you first became involved in organized crime activities?
A: Well, I first became.. it''s a strange way to start out... but I was racing stock cars and driving at a local track and Mr. Nicoletti had taken a shine to my driving and he'd watched me on several occasions and he had asked me once if I would drive him one evening. I took him out and test drove his car that we'd just picked up a brand new Ford... and he was pretty well pleased with my driving and from then on I became more like an assigned driver to him and I did several drivings for him on different jobs that he did.
Q: Who was Charles Nicoletti?
A: Charles Nicoletti, at that time, he was an up and coming figure with organized crime and he was known as one of the local hitman. As far as I'm concerned he was the best that ever lived, as far as I'm concerned.
Q: What Mafia family did he work for?
A: He was out of the Chicago family.
Q: Who would have been the boss of the Chicago family?
A: At that time, Tony Accardo.
Q: That's before Giancana or after Giancana?
A: Tony Accardo handed it up... headed it up... then Giancana came after that. Giancana at that time was one of the underlings, I guess you might say he was the... one of the top lieutenants at that point. Things were handed out in different branches in organized crime such as someone might handle the liquor license, someone would handle the loan sharking and booking, someone would handle the contracts for murder for hire and anything like that...
Q: How did you meet him (John Rosselli)?
A: I had met John Rosselli in Miami and discussed a few things with him and he... I had met him through David Atlee Phillips... David Atlee Phillips was an operative for the CIA. Through time everybody got to be fairly well good friends but I grew up basically under Chuck's wing... Mr. Nicoletti's wing. Chuck had told me we were going to do it. We'd first originally planned to do the assassination in Chicago but a lot of people didn't like that idea so then it was moved to another location.
Q: When you say "we planned it" could you clarify "we"?
A: Well when I say we... I was just with Mr. Nicoletti. Whatever he said do, I would do. When I say we, I'm referring like... the only thing I did was just drive the car or whatever that they needed me for. Mr. Nicoletti had asked me then at that point when we'd decided not to do it in Chicago and it was going to be moved to Dallas... when John F. Kennedy had decided to go to Dallas... a week in advance, I took the '63 Chevrolet that we had at that time.. I left and I went down a week earlier. I picked up the weapons from the storage bin that we had and loaded them in the car with everything that I thought we might need.. with a various assortment... and I left and I drove to Dallas. I stayed out at a place in Mesquite, Texas. Once I got there, I called back and notified Mr. Nicoletti that I was there and on the scene. The following day, Lee Harvey Oswald came by the motel where I was at... they had given him my location... and he took me out to a place somewhere southeast of Mesquite where I test fired the weapons and calibrated the scopes on anything that might be needed. Then he was with me for a few days in town there... we drove around... so I would know all the streets and not run into any dead ends streets if anything went wrong and we had to flee from the area...
Q: Could you give me the exact chronology of what happened from the time you arrived in Dallas...? You've already said that you went out and test fired some guns and things... take me back to maybe November 21, the day before, and in your own words, tell me what happened from November 21, 1963 until the night of November 22, 1963...
A: We go back... November 21, I had everything pretty well set up on my end of it as far as knowing the area, knowing the streets, memorizing a lot of the major points there and intersections... crossing railroad tracks and trestles and things... I had the weapons prepared and ready to go, I had those installed in the car where I wanted them. Everything had been calibrated all ammunition had been set and ready to use. I got a good nights sleep that night, the following morning I got up early and I went to the Dallas Cabana Hotel to pick up John Rosselli... I'm going to say somewhere shortly around 7:00 that morning, maybe a few minutes past seven... and I picked up Johnny Rosselli and we drove from the Dallas Cabana to Ft. Worth, Texas to a pancake house they had there just off the major highway. We went there to meet someone... I did not know who we was meeting...But he had already told me... Johnny Rosselli said we was going to meet a man by the name of Jack Ruby... that he had some things that we had to pick up. When we got there, Johnny Rosselli told me he said... I'm going to go in and sit in a booth... he says you wait and come in later... he said sit somewhere else where you can keep an eye on me... in case something goes wrong, I want you to cover my backside. So I positioned myself... after Johnny Rosselli went in... I sit at the counter... ordered a cup of coffee and sit there and waited.
This real heavy set gentlemen came in and he went over and he knew Johnny Rosselli I assume cause they shook hands, they talked for a minute and they sit down in the booth together. They passed over, I'm gonna say probably a 5 x 9 envelope... manilla envelope that had some material in it, at that point. After a couple of minutes, he got up, they shook hands, he left. I went out into the parking lot, made sure the air was clear, started the car up, pulled up by the door, Johnny Rosselli come out and got in the car. I never met Jack Ruby, never said hello or anything.
Johnny Rosselli got in the car with me and we started back to Dallas. He opened the envelope up and there was identification in there for Secret Service people and we had a map in there of the exact motorcade route that would take it through Dealey Plaza. Johnny Rosselli said well they only made one change. That was when he informed me they was coming off of Main Street on to Elm or on to Houston there... they made the zig-zag, the little turn that they should have never made. But when they made that, it was the only change in it.
I drove him back to the Dallas Cabana, he went upstairs and I waited for Mr. Nicoletti to come down. Mr. Nicoletti came down and got in the car with me and we drove to Dealey Plaza. We got to Dealey Plaza shortly before ten o'clock. From there we parked the car... it had been drizzling rain that morning... kind of a cool morning out... I had parked the car beside the Dal-Tex building, Mr. Nicoletti and I got out and we walked up and down the complete area of Dealey Plaza, we covered every corner, walked by the buildings, looked over several different things. We were just talking, having casual talk about the weather and everything.
At about 10:30, Mr. Nicoletti asked me how would I feel in supporting him... in backing him up on this... and he told me I wouldn't fire unless it became extremely necessary. I told Mr. Nicoletti, Jesus, I'd be honored to do anything to back you up. He asked me if you was to be outside here, where would you position yourself at in Dealey Plaza? I told him, I said well, from looking everything over and from walking it in the week I've been down here, I think I would choose up there behind the tree behind the stockade fence on the high ridge by the knoll up there. He says why there? I says well I've got the railroad yard in back of me, we've got a parking lot there and I've got a place to where I could stash whatever I would need. I said I can pass myself off as a railroad worker in the railroad yard for the time being until that time comes and nobody would really pay any attention to me. He asked me then where do you think would be the best place for me? I said well, I think the Dal-Tex building... with the new change in it... I say I think the Dal-Tex building over there... that building would give you the best advantage point there. He said I think so too. So we took a walk over, went through the parking lot over by the tracks, walked around through there and he seemed pretty well pleased with that. Then at that point, oh it was about 11:10, he asked me what weapon would I choose to use over there. I told him I would like to use the Fireball. He said why that one? He said you've only got one shot. I said one shot's all I'm gonna get anyway if I wait until the last moment of fire and I may not fire, I said, and it's easy to conceal and I carry it in a briefcase and nobody will pay any attention to me and it's easier to walk away from there. And that's exactly what we did at that point.
Shortly before noon, we went back to the vehicle, I took the briefcase out and turned my jacket inside out, I went back into the yard... the railroad yard there... I secured the briefcase, then I hung out back there and I walked down on the grassy knoll, no one paid any attention... people were gathering. Shortly before the motorcade came, I went back up there and started securing myself in a better position so I'd be able to reach the attache case at that point... the briefcase... I knew once that I opened the briefcase up and pulled the weapon out, nobody's gonna be looking at me, the motorcade would be coming... making its first time... and I wouldn't have to remove the Fireball from the briefcase until approximately... they made the first turn on Elm Street there and I would have plenty of time at that point.
At that point when they started proceeding down Elm Street, shots started being fired from behind. I assumed that it was Mr. Nicoletti because he was the one that was in the building and I knew that Johnny Rosselli was there. I remember the shots ringing out and even though the President was being hit with the rounds, I was considering it a miss because I knew that we were going for a head shot on the President. I had known that he had been hit in the body but I didn't know what part at that time. I seen the body lurch and I saw the body lurch again, I heard another shot that missed. We were supposed to hit no one but Connally, I mean no one but Mr. Kennedy. I guess Governor Connally got hit with one of the rounds at that point. I wasn't even sure of that because I was keeping Kennedy as best I could in the scope on the Fireball. When I got to the point where I thought it would be the last field of fire, I had zeroed in to the left side of the head there that I had because if I wait any longer then Jacqueline Kennedy would have been in the line of fire and I had been instructed for nothing to happen to her and at that moment I figured this is my last chance for a shot and he had still not been hit in the head. So, as I fired that round, Mr. Nicoletti and I fired approximately at the same time as the head started forward then it went backward. I would have to say that his shell struck approximately 1000th of a second ahead of mine maybe but that what's started pushing the head forward which caused me to miss from the left eye and I came in on the left side of the temple. At that point, through the scope, I witnessed everything, matter and skull bring blown out to the back on the limousine and everyone on television watching saw Jackie Kennedy crawl out there to get it. I watched her hold it in her hand, crawl back on to the car, I put the Fireball back into the briefcase, and closed it up, I pulled my jacket off, reversed my jacket so I would have, instead of the plaid side out, I would have the gray like a dress jacket more or less and I put a cap on my head, my hat, to walk away, carrying a briefcase.
(2) John R. Stockwell published his critique of the James Files Story on 23rd January, 1997.
To date, no corroboration has been found in military records, by the FBI, by Bob Vernon, or anyone else to our knowledge (despite considerable efforts) of Files military service or his service in the 82nd Airborne...
Normal training for a recruit, before overseas deployment is about a year. Training to qualify as an advisor in small automatic weapons, setting detonators, explosives, mechanical ambushes, would take years. Advisors in a handful of Americans working with Laotians would obviously include seasoned men - not a small, skinny, green, 17-year-old recruit...
In 1955 Sam Giancana took over the Mafia family from Tony Accardo. In 1959 he was one of the most powerful crime figures in America - hardly one of the underlings.... one of the top lieutenants....
David Atlee Phillips was a propaganda specialist. Not a paramilitary man. It is very doubtful that he would be the controller of a Mafia shooter who was training Cubans...
He (Nicoletti) asked me then were do you think would be the best place for me? "I said, well, I think the Dal-Tex building...." Big problem here. Mafia hits are meticulously well-planned, usually involving several people. This is 2 hours before the assassination of the President and we are to believe they are walking around saying, where do you think I should stand?
Could a stranger just walk into the Dal-Tex building with a 30.06, just before the president is to drive by, and walk up to a window and shoot. (It seems there may (or may not) have been a closet with a window on the 2nd floor, by the fire escape. But, wouldnt that take some careful planning to find, identify, get a key to?
And what of the sound? Rifles are loud. Would no one in the building hear the shots? He would have been firing right down Elm. Many dozens of people, including credible individuals standing almost in the line of fire. Would none of them have heard the loud shots, muzzle blast, bullets, right behind and above them?
Here Files is detailing which shots hit and which shot missed. Watching through a scope, preparing to fire, how could he know there were hits and one miss? Kennedy did not lurch until after the head shot...
Note that legions of researchers, carefully viewing the Zapruder film have debated for years about hits and misses. This reads much more like something Files read in a book, than an eyewitness account.
Three times here, Files is zeroing in on Kennedy's left eye, side of the head, temple. Later in this transcript he does explain that he meant his own left, as he faced Kennedy. But, given the other extensive distortions in his confession the latter could easily be an artless correction of this inaccuracy. "So, as I fired that round, Mr. Nicoletti and I fired approximately at the same time as the head started forward then it went backward. I would have to say that his shell struck approximately 1000th of a second ahead of mine but that whats started pushing the head forward which caused me to miss from the left eye and I came in on the left side of the temple. At that point, through the scope I witnessed everyting, matter and skull bring (sic) blown out the back on the limo...."
This is all from the books and films, not what a shooter would have seen and registered in 1/1000th of a second. Nor could he have watched matter and skull bring blown out the back on the limo. The Fireball is a pistol, firing essentially the same cartridge as the M16 rifle. It kicks like a mule. Harder than any rifle. The recoil knocks it back and up. No way he could have fired and then watched through the scope.... (readers of this are invited to go to a range and shoot one).
" Nobody has paid me any money for this interview and I have asked for nothing." In fact, I understand that Files's daughter was paid $50,000 immediately after the project was sold to Dick Clark/MPI.
(Files) claims Nicoletti gave him his diary of all his hits and the Secret Service badges that had been used in Dealey Plaza. Any seasoned researcher is going to put big question marks beside the assertion that Nicoletti kept or gave to Files his diary of all his hits. It would seem extremely unlikely that a Mafia hitman would keep such a record, and questionable that he would leave it with anyone else.
Files initially said he and Oswald were "palling" around New Orleans with shipments of fake Thompson's submachine guns in 1961. Oswald was still in Minsk, that was a full year before he returned to the United States.
A colorful part of his story is how he fired one shot with his Fireball, took the cartridge out, bit down on it, and then left it on the fence railing. There are several unresolved problems with this. First, John Rademacher found 2 Fireball cartridges, not just one. Second, Files did apparently own a Fireball.... but the serial numbers clearly indicated that it's manufacture substantially post-dated the assassination. And finally, Joe West was conferring closely with Rademacher a year before he discovered and met Files. He and I had talked about the practicality of using a Fireball for a shot from the fence (first postulated by Josiah Thompson). Joe had photographs of the dented cartridge when he went to visit Files in prison.
According to Files's chronology, he would have been in Laos with the 82nd Airborne when he was still 17 years old. No authentication of his military record has ever been found. Nor does one enlist, go directly into an elite outfit, and then immediately get assigned overseas to a sensitive assignment. The boot and basic infantry training of a recruit takes about a year (I was going through the military training process in those same years.) Jump school alone is one month, and you had to qualify to make it.
Much of Files's story parallels information that is in the assassination books. Was he a reader? We do not know.
(3) Martin Shackelford, Fair Play Magazine, Confessions of an Assassin (November, 1996)
Files said he first met Lee Harvey Oswald in early 1963, in connection with gun-running, in Clinton, Louisiana, via David Atlee Phillips. Both were doing CIA work at the time. There was obviously some government involvement in the assassination, as otherwise they wouldn't have gotten the Secret Service identifications Ruby gave them. Phillips had given him the Remington Fireball for an earlier job.
Files said he saw Frank Sturgis among the crowd of people on Elm Street. He also saw Eugene Brading, whom he had seen at the Cabana with Nicoletti and Rosselli. Files knew Sturgis from anti-Castro activities, as did Rosselli. Files didn't see Oswald at all that day. He and Oswald never discussed the assassination plan.
He would not comment on the murder of J.D. Tippit, except to say that Oswald didn't kill Tippit, and the man who did was still alive at the time of the interview (a later reference possibly referring to the same man indicated he is now in his '80s), and had originally been assigned to kill Oswald. The man came to see Files in Mesquite after the assassination, saying there was a screwup and he had killed a cop...
Problems with the James Files "Confession":
(1) David Atlee Phillips, CIA propaganda expert, would seem an unlikely case officer for a Mob driver and hit man on No Name Key. This seems to be an attempt to tie Files credibly in with Oswald (the Veciana sighting in Dallas of Oswald and Phillips, as Bishop, together), but is doubtful. Also, although John Rosselli was active in Florida preparations for the Bay of Pigs, it is likely that someone other than Phillips introduced him to Files, if Files was at No Name Key. The only thing that sounds much like the real Phillips is the quote near the end about the power of the typewriter.
(2) Lee Harvey Oswald as tour guide.
(3) The plaid reversible coat and the bitten shell casing seem, on the surface, to provide confirmation, but both were details known prior to Files telling his story to anyone. I had heard about the shell well before Files says the fact that it was bitten was discovered (he says 1994). Some people seem to have confused the bitten casing found in the Plaza with the dented casing found in the Depository - these are two separate shell casings.
(4) In connection with Oswald, Clinton and gun-running, David Atlee Phillips again seems inserted artificially into the story here. Oswald and Ruby were both connected to New Orleans people involved in gun-running, but inserting Phillips into the Clinton story is, again, highly doubtful. This is not to say Phillips' role was an innocent one, just that Files seems to be inventing things, or perhaps he was fed inventions.
(5) Files overlooks the fact that the Elm Street crowd was well-photographed. Frank Sturgis was not among the crowd; nor at that point was Eugene Brading in that area; nor was Jack Ruby on the sidewalk below the knoll. None of this is difficult to check. All the relevant photos are in Groden and Trask.
(6) The Secret Service man on the knoll now becomes two men in suits turning people away. There were men turning people away in the area BEFORE the assassination, but not after. It sounds as though Files flubbed some of his borrowed details.
(7) He had documentary evidence, but he destroyed most of it. How convenient.
(8) My guess is that Files was, indeed, Charles Nicoletti's driver, and was involved in the preparations for the Bay of Pigs, but that he is also a good con artist, skillled at blending fact and fiction, which is what I believe he has done here
(4) David B. Perry, The Top Ten Reasons the Jim Files' Story Needs Help (1997)
1. Files claims he was involved with the mob as part of "The Chicago Family" (by timelines after September 1960). He indicated the mob was headed by Tony Accardo and that "(Sam) Giancana was an underling to Accardo."
Tony Accardo turned control of the Chicago mob over to Sam "Mooney" Gianciana in the summer of 1955.
2. Files claims he served in Laos with the 82nd Airborne conducting training of that countries' soldiers in "mechanical ambushes."
Because of the jungle's "triple tree canopy" airborne operations were futile. Helicopter gun ships were used instead. Additionally, he mispronounces the name given the people of Laos as Latoatians. Something which would give great offense to these proud people.
3. Files claims he was recruited for CIA operations in April 1961 by David Atlee Phillips.
In 1961 Phillips was Chief of Covert Action in Mexico City and additionally ran the CIA's "propaganda shop." He had nothing to do with CIA recruitment.
4. Files claims responsibility for training some of the Bay of Pigs soldiers at the behest of the CIA and David Atlee Phillips. He describes the training as taking place in the Everglades. The preparation of invasion forces for the Bay of Pigs took place in Guatemala.
5. Files indicates training for the Bay of Pigs incursion took place at No Name Key in the Everglades.
No Name Key is located about 25 miles east of Key West and about 50 air miles across Florida Bay from the Everglades. This is a distinction that would surely be known to someone actually involved in those covert operations.
(5) Wim Dankbaar, Is James Files Telling the Truth?, Assassination of JFK Forum (18th April, 2004)
Why do I believe James Files is telling the truth? Here is a non-exhaustive list of reasons in random order:
When I first learned about James Files some three years ago, I was rather amazed that I didnt know his name. After all, I had been studying the Kennedy assassination for over 12 years. I was more astonished because Files had made his confession in 1994 and I was told the website had been up since 1995. When I searched for the name "James Files" on the Internet, I found that 9 out of 10 articles attempted to completely discredit Files' story. I then set out to closely investigate these criticisms and came to the conclusion they were all superficial and didn't hold water.
For example, critics said that the weapon Files claimed to have used was more a pistol than a rifle and would have had an enormous recoil. They said it "kicks like a mule". Therefore, Files could never have seen what he claimed he had witnessed through the scope of his weapon. I sent an email to one of the gun shops I found on the Internet. I acted as a potential customer and asked whether the Remington Fireball was a pleasant weapon to fire. That man stated the weapon was one of the most sophisticated guns ever made, etc. When I inquired about the recoil he said it was nice and steady. Ultimately, I told him why I asked. He was quite amused and said that the alleged murder weapon of Lee Harvey Oswald had a lot more recoil than the Fireball. He added that whoever said that the XP-100 had substantial recoil had a lot to learn about firearms.
Files was also criticized with the allegation that the XP-100 was not available in 1963 and that the rounds used for this weapon were not a.222 caliber but rather.221. I found both accusations to be untrue. The weapon was introduced in 1963 and prototypes were available as early as 1962. The weapon was originally chambered for.222 rounds. To learn more about the Remington XP-100 Fireball click here.
Another statement was that Files would not have had the time to do all the things he claimed to have done. He states that he bit the shell casing after firing the shot and left it on the on the picket fence on the grassy knoll. He then put the weapon back in his briefcase, turned his jacket inside out, put it on and walked away. Critics shout he would never had the time to do all of that because numerous bystanders rushed to the knoll right after the shots, since that is where most bystanders had heard the shots coming from.
It is true that many bystanders ran towards the grassy knoll, but not immediately. Files says that everyone stood frozen and stunned and that even the policemen acted uncertain, as if they were waiting for someone to tell them what to do.
I was quickly able to determine that Files was right. One of the photos of the knoll shows the press bus in front of it. There is not a soul on the knoll yet. This was the last vehicle in the motorcade, so it must have taken, at the minimum, 30 seconds for the bus to reach that point. The president's limousine had almost come to a stop and the press bus had to make the sharp turn of 120 degrees from Houston street onto Elm, forcing it to a near-stop also. To see that Files was right click here.
The lead on James Files came from the FBI. Agent Zack Shelton (now retired) served 28 years with the FBI. He has an impeccable record and spent much of his career on organized crime task forces of Chicago and Kansas City. He is the man who gave the information on James Files to private investigator Joe West, because Zack Shelton had reason to believe that James Files knew more about the Kennedy assassination. This was based on a remark that James Files had made to an FBI informant. Joe West subsequently located James Files in Stateville penitentiary, which ultimately led to his confession of being the gunman on the grassy knoll.
It is important to note that James Files had never volunteered to give information on his role in the assassination. The tip from Zack was given to Joe West, who was working on a lawsuit to exhume JFKs body. He wanted to prove that Kennedy was hit from the front and by multiple gunmen and a new and independent autopsy would prove sure as hell that the first was a total fraud.
But Joe West never heard a full confession from James Files. Files didnt want to talk. Only if Joe could arrange immunity for him, would Files consider it. During that time Joe had to go into a hospital for heart surgery. The operation itself was a success, but then out of nowhere he went into a coma and never came out of it. With his death, his exhumation suit also died. Files, and others, thinks Joe was murdered by an overdose of wrong medication in order to silence him. He was informed as such by one of his sources. Indeed there are some strange details; the attending doctor is still to be found for example. And just before he went into coma and could not talk anymore, he scribbled a note for his family "Get me out of here, they are trying to kill me!" The official cause of death was Acute Deficiency Respiratory Syndrome. Bob Vernon was later told by a surgeon that this is more or less a standard method to cover-up medical errors, such as an overdose of drugs. Joe's death is one of the main reasons why James Files decided to tell his story to Bob Vernon, who took over from Joe.
A second reason is that Files has turned religious. An element of clearing his conscience also plays a role. In addition, he feels it was not his idea to put his name before the public. He says it was the FBI (Zack Shelton) and he was convinced the FBI would want the truth kept covered-up. Indeed J. Edgar Hoover had done his best. To James Files, the FBI is one big bad organization. What he does not understand, is that mostly honorable people work for the FBI and the cover-up was controlled from the top. Zack Shelton and his colleagues feel betrayed their own former boss covered-up such a big crime, while they were thinking they were doing the greatest thing in the world.
Another reason is that both Files and Bob Vernon had received clear threats to stop with all of this. Those threats came from organized crime as well as the government. To name just a few examples: Vernon claims he was shot at from a car and Files received a message from a mob lawyer to "keep quiet and lay down by your doggy bowl." Vernons proposal to Files was then: "If they want to take us out, lets leave them something for history!" Files stared in silence through the window for a minute, according to Vernon the longest minute of his life. Finally Files turned around and said: "Ok, bring in the cameras tomorrow!"
A final reason is that James Files is convinced he will never be tried for the assassination of JFK. A trial would expose the governments involvement. He knows the powers behind it and they have too much to lose.
(6) Edward Jay Epstein, email to Barb Junkkarinen (24th April, 2001)
In brief, NBC retained me as a consultant for their planned story on Files. I hired the detective firm of Jules Kroll. JK established from telephone records Files was in Chicago, not Dallas, on November 22,1963. We then placed a call to Files from Dick Clark's office (DC was producer), and I interviewed Files about Kroll findings. He said he had a twin brother, who no one knew about, and whom he met shortly before November 22, and who he murdered after November 22. He said it was his twin brother in hospital with his wife, not him. His wife, however, said there was no twin, and Kroll confirmed there was no twin. My view then and now is that Files invented the story for the money it would earn him.
© John Simkin, March 2013