November 18, 1994, former music producer Bob Vernon spoke before the Assassination Records Review Board. Vernon representing the company Truth Truth Truth Inc. presented the story of James Files another man who claimed to be President Kennedy's assassin. The associated video "Confessions of An Assassin" notes investigator Joe West spent a considerable amount time and money regarding his investigation into the James Files claims. It also remarks that West died before Files could give a full confession, yet Files could have easily saved West months of time by offering verifiable proof or other witnesses that could substantiate his claims, Files never did. West is not the last person to lose time and money chasing the improbable claims of James Files. Bob Vernon would eventually do so as well.
Files in the aforementioned video purports that he was a stock car driver at a local presumably Chicago area racing track during 1960. He also claims that Mafia hit man Charles Nicoletti liked his racing skills and "took a shine to his driving and watched him on several occasions." He never gives any specific dates for these alleged occurrences. Files claims Nicoletti asked him to be his driver, and then asserts he became his assigned driver for several "jobs" he undertook. Bob Vernon claims that Former Federal Bureau of Investigation Agent Zach Shelton "verified" that Files was a driver and bodyguard to Charles Nicoletti, Vernon offers no evidence to prove these claims, he does not explain how Shelton verified the story he owned. Shelton did not offer a statement on the record during the official hearing.
Vernon offers that Agent Shelton "...long suspected that Chicago mob members Sam Giancana, Charles Nicoletti, and John Roselli were involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, but that he had no hard evidence to support his beliefs."i Vernon supports Files claims of shooting President Kennedy from the Grassy Knoll with a Remington XP-100 handgun. No witness ever observes a person firing a handgun in the Grassy Knoll area. Yet this problem is just one of many in the related assertions.
James Files states a week before the assassination of President Kennedy he drove to Mesquite, Texas in advance of a plot with weapons to ready for the assassination under the orders of Charles Nicoletti.ii It takes roughly 15 hours to travel from the Chicago area to Dallas with no stopping, and roughly over a day in order to reach Texas with stops, sleep, restroom breaks, meals, and refueling based upon modern roads. He leaves a week prior during the day on November 15, 1963 according to his claims. He does not specify when he rented a hotel room in Mesquite, Texas exactly. However, we can use his statement to consider the required time and his arrival would occur November 16 or early on November 17, 1963.
Files' asserts that Lee Harvey Oswald came by his room the following day and took him to a place southwest of Mesquite. He states the trip was to calibrate, test fire weapons, and have Oswald assist Files in any way he could"iii Oswald was not a weapons expert as the condition of his Carcano would attest, he is never observed practice firing, and he additionally had no vehicle and could not drive. Files might be attempting to insert himself into a debunked Oswald sighting on the November 17; all verified evidence dismissed this firing range sighting years prior. The claims that someone observed Lee Harvey Oswald undertake firing range practice near Mesquite, Texas were beneficial to official allegations, yet they could not accept them due to insufficient and contending evidence.iv v Mesquite is roughly just less than 20 miles from Dallas, a roughly four-hour trip on foot each way. Among the many pieces of Oswald's possessions seized by authorities were his various traveling receipts, but they never discover a bus pass or cab receipt to Mesquite. Why any intelligent conspirator would compromise the plot by revealing Files to Oswald days before is ponderous.
Additionally problematic is Oswald worked November 18 and thus cannot be in Mesquite. Oswald called and argued with his wife from his rooming house that day after work over using a fictitious name.vi He also paid his rent in cash that same day at his rooming house. The housekeeper Earlene Roberts offered a written receipt and further states "Oswald seldom left the house for more than a few minutes and was never out a single evening during the time he stayed at the house except for trips to Irving..."vii We have a witness, a written receipt of rental payment verifying Oswald's location, and not a shred of evidence to suggest he was in Mesquite.
No verifiable witness suggests Oswald took this unlikely trip, nor how he got there and back. Repeated evidence supports Oswald was not out for hours, nearly twenty miles away, or appearing in public the day before or following with James Files. Yet Files also claims he met Johnny Roselli, Jack Ruby, and Charles Nicoletti all in the Texas before the assassination. Unfortunately, for Files and his advocates the primary evidence defies his claims.
James Files asserts early in the morning on November 22, 1963 he went to the Dallas Cabana Hotel to pick up Johnny Roselli.viii Unknown to Files is that Johnny Roselli was under Federal Bureau of Investigation surveillance for months prior and after the assassination. Officials had staked out Roselli's Los Angeles apartment and offered daily reports in November, while other FBI agents tracked Roselli's travel, phone calls, reservations, and movements elsewhere. On November 16, Roselli accompanied Maurice Friedman and two women on a flight to Phoenix, Arizona. November 18 Roselli and Friedman leave Phoenix on a flight to Las Vegas, Nevada and informants observe Roselli later at the Desert Inn Hotel in Las Vegas.ix An FBI informant reports that Roselli's friend Jonie Taps had knowledge of Roselli's past travel arrangements with Friedman and the two women. Taps states that Roselli is destined for Los Angeles again November 20, 1963.x Roselli also later testified having knowledge that officials were observing and pursuing him during this time.xi
Roselli is suspicious and correct that officials have been closely watching him for months, thus it is unlikely he would commit any murderous crime having realized officials were observing. Las Vegas was among the areas Roselli possessed legal and illegal financial interests and he often traveled between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Roselli then returned to the Las Vegas Desert Inn Hotel. November 22, 1963 FBI observers note that Roselli is not in his Los Angeles apartment. Johnny Roselli later testifies before the Senate Select Committee, "The morning the President was assassinated, I was asleep, in bed, at the Desert Inn Hotel..." which is in Las Vegas, Nevada.xii Roselli then days later feasibly returned to Los Angeles because the FBI monitors activity in Roselli's Los Angeles residence on November 26, 1963.xiii xiv Based on all the verified evidence Johnny Roselli was not in Texas during the time claimed and it is most improbable he collaborated with or even knew James Files.
James Files who is never verifiably with Johnny Roselli, additionally states he and the mobster traveled after 7 am to an unnamed pancake house to meet Jack Ruby just preceding President Kennedy's assassination.xv However, witnesses observe Ruby prior working until the early morning hours at his club and then he returned home to sleep. George Senator stated Ruby was at home when he left for work later that morning. Ruby's legal statement places him sleeping at his apartment until 9:30 am. Ruby later telephoned a newspaper that prior featured a negative advertisement targeting President Kennedy the previous morning. He then called his sister Eva Grant to discuss the public criticisms from his apartment as well after 10 am.xvi xvii Files would have us imagine that after working all day Ruby would catch a few hours of sleep then meet him. He presents only improbable stories that no verifiable evidence supports.
Files then purports he returned to the Cabana Hotel and picked Chicago Mafia hit man Charles Nicoletti. He declares they drove to Dealey Plaza just before 10 am to survey the area. Files then claims, as he mentioned earlier, that at 10:30 am the day of President Kennedy's assassination Nicoletti decided to ask him to act in a firing position as back up. According to Files, Nicoletti chooses a man with a day of recent practice, no specialty with firearms, and no alibi to act in a last minute role during perhaps the most important criminal act of his life. Nicoletti then according to Files asks him to suggest what position he and Nicoletti should take in Dealey Plaza, as if there is no set plan.xviii A feeling of incredulity is the natural response to the proposition Files has offered.
Charles Nicoletti being involved in a Dallas plot is unlikely because he was already under investigation due a different murder a week earlier. An FBI informant reported observing Charles Nicoletti meeting with mobster Sam DeStefano on November 13, 1963. They allegedly discussed Leo Foreman, the underling of DeStefano who had lied to Nicoletti about his political connections, threatened "Milwaukee Phil" Alderisio, and was suspected of being an FBI informant. The next day Leo Foreman vanished, four days later his body is discovered stuffed in a car trunk eight blocks from Sam DeStefano's residence.
Leo Foreman is last seen alive at DeStefano's home playing cards.xix The informant believes that Nicoletti was responsible for the murder. Nicoletti was aware Foreman's death would attract official attention after it was publicly known, he and is verifiably linked to the main suspect of Foreman's murder and privately implicated by an official source. DeStefano unwittingly tells an FBI informant before the discovery of the corpse that Foreman was dead, so Nicoletti too was aware of that fact. Thus, it is unlikely he would rush cross-country days after Foreman's murder and cobble a plan together at the last minute with James Files.
Logic would suggest further murders would be foolish and unnecessarily dangerous with officials already investigating Nicoletti's close Mafia associate. Nicoletti did not rise in the higher circles of the Mafia by making foolish mistakes and self-preservation was ever a factor. Based on the evidence Nicoletti was likely attempting to remain off the official radar in the Chicago area, perhaps he went elsewhere to do so, but no evidence whatsoever places him across the country with James Files.
While Charles Nicoletti's exact whereabouts remain unknown, sufficient evidence would suggest he would not be assassinating a public figure while freshly associated with another murder investigation. However, substantial evidence verifiably dispels that James Files ever met Johnny Roselli, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Jack Ruby as he purports. Without these men, his story crumbles, and we can verify a large portion of his assertions rely on myths. So what reason is there to consider any of his other tales?
i. Assassination Records Review Board, Public Hearing, Press Release, Reports, November 18, 1994
ii. Bob Vernon, The Murder of JFK: Confession of An Assassin, MPI Home Video, September 10, 1996
iii. Ibid, 1996
iv. Report of the President's Commission, Investigation of Other Activities, pp. 318-319
v. Hearings of the President's Commission, Volume XXVI, Commission Exhibit 3077, September 10, 1964
vi. House Select Committee on Assassinations, Segregated CIA file, Oswald Chronology per the Warren Commission Report, Box 11, p. 145, 1993.07.12.19:05:01:750330
vii. Federal Bureau of Investigation, 105-82555, Oswald Headquarters File, Section 23, Statement of Earlene Roberts, pp. 1-2
viii. Vernon, The Murder of JFK, 1996
ix. House Select Committee on Assassinations, FBI Subject Files, Q-R, John Roselli, Air Mail from Director to SAC Los Angeles, November 23, 1963, pp. 1-2, 124-10222-10404
x. Ibid, p. 2
xi. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Activities, Boxed Files, Testimony of John Roselli, September 22, 1975, p. 47, 157-10002-10386
xii. Ibid, Testimony of John Roselli, April 23, 1976
xiii. HSCA, FBI Subject File, Q-R, John Roselli, No Title, November 26, 1963, 124-10222-10401
xiv. Ibid, Roselli aka Anti-Racketeering, November 27, 1963
xv. Vernon, The Murder of JFK, 1996
xvi. FBI, Ruby Headquarters File, Section 32, Ruby Chronology Summary, p. 12
xvii. President's Commission Document 107.1, FBI Sup. Investigation of Killing Oswald, Interview of Jack L. Ruby by FBI, Part IV, December 21, 1963, p. 1
xviii. Vernon, The Murder of JFK, 1996
xix. HSCA, FBI Subject File, C-D, Criminal Intelligence Program-Chicago, Activities of Top Hoodlums, Chicago Area, November 22, 1963, p. 1, 11, 12, 124-10200-10102
Edited: December 2017