November 22, 1963
In less than
"If you shut up the truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through it will blow up everything in its way."
- French author Emile Zola
"Treason does never prosper.
What's the reason?
When it prospers,
None dare call it treason."
Sir John Harrington
FBI interview with James Files
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
Date of transcription 8/16/93
JAMES FILES (assumed name), aka James Earl Sutton (true name),
date of birth January 24, 1942, place of birth Oakman, Alabama, social
security account number: 323-34-9241, (under the name JAMES FILES),
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS number N14006, was interviewed at
the STATEVILLE CORRECTIONAL CENTER, Joliet, Illinois, wherein the
following was discussed:
At the onset of the interview, FILES stated that through
conversation with Attorney DON IRVIN, he understood that he was to be
interviewed by the FBI but that the interview would be conducted in
the presence of IRVIN. FILES was told that Agents were unaware of any
arrangements made in that regard.
FILES expressed his desire to talk to the FBI but stated his
reluctance to submit to an interview without IRVIN being present.
FILES also advised that he wanted a grant of immunity before
submitting to an interview. FILES advised that in the unlikely event
he won his appeal, he didn't want exposure to additional charges.
Agents told FILES that Agents were not authorized to grant him
immunity and that such a procedure was the responsibility of the U.S.
Attorney. Agents further told FILES that immunity grants are not
extended by the U.S. Attorney to individuals without some logical
Agents further told FILES that IRVIN had provided information
to the FBI that indicated he (FILES) had personal knowledge concerning
the assassination of JOHN F. KENNEDY (JFK). Agents then told FILES
that a review of his (FILES') information as provided by IRVIN
determined that his (FILES') recollections were in significant
contradiction to the WARREN COMMISSION report. Agents told FILES That
the findings of the WARREN COMMISSION report had been accepted by the
government as an accurate factual account of the JFK assassination.
Investigation on 8/9/93 at Joliet, Illinois File # 62-0
by SAs Robert C. PECORARO & WAYNE F. ZYDRON:kf
Date dictated 8/9/93
Continuation of FD-302 of JAMES FILES, On 8/9/93, Page 2
Agents then told FILES that Agents further understood from
IRVIN that he (FILES) was cognizant of his contradictions with the
WARREN COMMISSION findings and that he (FILES) wanted to make
available the "true story" of the JFK assassination out of respect to
the deceased JOE WEST.
Agents told FILES that in view of his obvious conflicts with
the WARREN COMMISSION findings, he would unlikely be afforded
subsequent opportunities for interview by the FBI or the U.S. Attorney
in regard to the JFK assassination unless he established his
credibility with the government. FILES was told that credibility
could sometimes be established through corroboration of facts
furnished by an individual during an interview. Agents told FILES
that the purpose of the interview was to obtain additional information
from him in an effort to establish him as a credible person rather
than to build a murder case on him. FILES was told that the JFK
assassination took place almost 30 years ago and it would take
extraordinary corroboration to make recollections credible in view of
the WARREN COMMISSION findings.
Agents told FILES that should he decide to answer questions,
it would need to be a voluntary action on his part. FILES was
repeatedly told that no immunity grant or any other guarantees or
promises could be extended to him should he decide to be interviewed.
In response, FILES stated that he would voluntarily answer questions
but would not admit to any murders.
Agents asked FILES to state his true name and background
information. FILES advised that his true name was JAMES EARLY SUTTON
but that sometime in 1963, he assumed the name of JAMES FILES and has
been known as JAMES FILES ever since. FILES recalled that sometime in
the late 1940s he moved to the Chicago metropolitan area with his
mother, VERA BRASSEAL, and advised that he is divorced to FAITH FILES,
age 50, who was last known to reside in Glendale Heights, Illinois.
FILES stated that he had two children from his marriage, KATHLEEN, age
26 and SHAWNN, age 17. FILES recalled that KATHLEEN was last known to
reside in Chrystal Lake, Illinois, and SHAWNN in Melrose Park,
Continuation of FD-302 of JAMES FILES, On 8/9/93, Page 3
Agents made reference to his (FILES') military service in the
U.S. Army and asked FILES to summarize his military career. FILES
recalled that he joined the U.S. Army under the last name of SUTTON.
He said he was afforded basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood and
Advanced Infantry Training (AIT) at Ft. Polk. FILES recalled that
after AIT, he volunteered for airborne training and was afforded
airborne training at both Ft. Bragg and Ft. Benning. FILES advised
that he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division.
Agents asked FILES to describe his airborne training. FILES
recalled that airborne school was six to eight weeks in duration and
that he made four jumps-including one night jump. FILES recalled that
airborne school consisted of significant classroom instruction before
he made his jumps. FILES also recalled that while in airborne school,
he was afforded "Crash Courses" in the Chinese, Laotian and Russian
languages. When asked to recall anything eventful (either rewarding
or distasteful) about airborne school, FILES was unable to articulate
anything in that regard.
FILES recalled that after airborne school, he was briefly
stationed in San Diego (California), Okinawa and Viet Nam before
deployment to Laos. FILES recalled that in Laos, he held the rank of
"Spec 4" (Specialist Fourth Class) and was assigned to a Special
Advisory Group. FILES recalled that his group specialized in small
arms weapons and "mechanical" ambushes.
Agents asked FILES to state details over his shooting of two
U.S. soldiers in Laos. FILES stated his refusal to admit to the
shooting but stated that he was charged for the shooting. FILES
recalled that he was afforded a preliminary court martial hearing
somewhere in Southeast Asia and was assigned to Ft. Meade, Maryland,
to await his court martial. FILES then recalled that he was then
transferred to the HINES VETERAN HOSPITAL, Maywood, Illinois, for
psychological related treatment.
FILES then recalled that at HINES, he was visited by DAVID
ATLEY PHILLIPS who identified himself as some kind of "controlled" for
the CIA. FILES recalled that PHILLIPS asked him to train people in
the use of military arms and tactics. FILES recalled that upon
accepting PHILLIPS' offer, PHILLIPS "signed him out" of HINES. FILES
assumed that PHILLIPS or the CIA handled his discharge from the Army.
Continuation of FD-302 of JAMES FILES, On 8/9/93, Page 4
FILES then recalled that following his release from HINES,
PHILLIPS arranged a brief stay for him at a "sleazy" motel in Miami
(Florida) whereafter, he was sent to a camp in the Florida Everglades.
FILES recalled that from November 1960 until April 1961, he was part
of a group of 10 Americans-including FRANK STURGIS, who trained a
military force of 350 Cubans at that camp. FILES advised that he was
qualified as an "Expert" with the M14 rifle in the Army and taught
"grenades" and "mechanical" ambushes to the Cubans. FILES recalled
that he was paid a salary of $300.00 per month in cash by PHILLIPS.
FILES described PHILLIPS as a white male, 6' tall, slim build,
30 years of age (circa 1960). FILES recalled that PHILLIPS had the
nickname "The Eagle" at the camp in the Florida Everglades.
FILES recalled that after the Cuban soldiers were killed, he
(FILES) went briefly to Atlanta (Georgia) where he "partied" with
liquor and women. FILES then recalled that he returned to Melrose
Park, Illinois, where he "ran guns" from Maywood, Illinois, to
Clinton, Louisiana. FILES recalled that the guns were .45 caliber
machine guns made by KNOXVILLE ARMS. FILES advised that PHILLIPS paid
him $300.00 per month to transport guns to Clinton, Louisiana, and
deliver the guns to LEE HARVEY OSWALD. FILES recalled he made several
trips to Clinton, Louisiana, to deliver guns to OSWALD.
Agents asked FILES if the aforementioned LEE HARVEY OSWALD was
the same LEE HARVEY OSWALD who shot KENNEDY. In response, FILES sated
(sic) that OSWALD did not shoot KENNEDY. FILES adamantly disputed the
fact that OSWALD shot KENNEDY and made reference to the fac that
OSWALD tested negative on a paraffin test.
Agents then made reference to CHUCK NICOLETTI and his (FILES')
relationship with Chicago mobsters. In response, FILES furnished
Agents with three pages containing numerous handwritten names. FILES
advised that the names were of Chicago mobsters with whom he had
familiarity. Agents subsequently examined the above material and
noticed that the names were arranged in alphabetical order and that
most names were names of Chicago hoodlums that have been identified by
the Chicago media as having association with the Chicago mob.
Continuation of FD-302 of JAMES FILES, On 8/9/93, Page 5
Agents then furnished FILES with a handwritten list of names.
FILES was told that this list contained names of Chicago mobsters
known to have been associated with NICOLETTI. It is noted that
unbeknownst to FILES, some of the names were derivative names of FBI
employees. FILES was asked if he had known LEE FABRIZIO (FBI
employee). Agents represented FABRIZIO as a close associate of
NICOLETTI. FILES stated that he had heard of FABRIZIO but never met
him. FILES also stated vague familiarity with individuals known as
JOE GIARRUSSO, MIKE PAVIA, PATRICK SCALZETTI and DOMINICK PEZOLI (all
FBI derivative names) but could not recall ever meeting them.
Agents made reference to the names "DING DONG" and AL TOCO
which appeared on FILES' list. FILES advised that DING DONG was a
Chicago mobster who was murdered. FILES recalled that TOCO (true name
Albert ROCCO) was "over" BILLY DAUBER. FILES advised that he was
involved in chop shops in the 1970s and that he once met DAUBER in
Crete, Illinois, where DAUBER demanded 1/3 of "everything". At the
time, FILES recalled that he was chopping 30 cars per week.
Agents asked FILES if he had familiarity with individuals
named CLARENCE CROCKETT, GUY BILLS and CHARLEY "The Greek" SOTERAS.
FILES stated that none of the above individuals were familiar to him.
Agents asked FILES to name the "street crew" to which
NICOLETTI belonged and also name some of the members of NICOLETTI's
street crew. In response, FILES advised that the Chicago mob was not
made up of different "families". In response, FILES was told that
Agents were cognizant of that fact but knew that the Chicago mob were
loosely organized into "street crews". FILES was unable to articulate
about NICOLETTI's street crew affiliates with the exception that he
had association with SAM GIANCANNA.
FILES was asked to describe his association with NICOLETTI.
FILES advised that he chauffeured NICOLETTI around the Chicago area.
FILES re called that they drove around in NICOLETTI's cars. FILES
recalled driving NICOLETTI at least a dozen times. FILES further
recalled driving NICOLETTI to bakeries in the suburbs. FILES recalled
driving in NICOLETTI's black 1960 Ford, white 1961 Chevrolet and black
Continuation of FD-302 of JAMES FILES, On 8/9/93, Page 6
Agents asked FILES if he had driven NICOLETTI to places where
NICOLETTI met other mobsters. FILES was unable to recall any details
in that regard. FILES then remarked that he recalled an occasion when
NICOLETTI "popped" somebody while they were driving together on Lake
Shore Drive (Chicago). FILES refused to furnish any details in regard
to this incident.
FILES recalled that he did not have telephone service at his
Melrose Park residence. FILES recalled that NICOLETTI usually
telephonically contacted him at the HARLO GRILL where he (FILES) had
frequented to play "pin-ball". At the time, FILES recalled that he
drove a yellow/green colored 1955 Pontiac.
Agents asked FILES to furnish his physical description during
that time period. FILES furnished Agents with a colored photograph of
a white male, medium build with short black hair. FILES stated that
the photograph was taken of him during the above time period.
Physical observation of FILES reflects that FILES is a white male,
approximately 5'11" tall, long white hair and medium build.
Agents asked FILES to name persons who could verify his
relationship with NICOLETTI. FILES named JERRY ESPOSITO, COSMO IASCO,
DOMINICK CIMINO, RONNIE BELL, RUPI REGO, KENNY LARRY, STEVE ANSELMO,
JOE BUA and MARSHAL CAIFANO as some of the individuals who could
verify his relationship with NICOLETTI.
FILES, when asked by Agents, stated that he did not know the
identity of the individual(s) who murdered NICOLETTI.
Agents then made reference to the JFK assassination. FILES
stated that NICOLETTI told him the he (NICOLETTI) got the contract to
"hit" KENNEDY from SAM GIANCANNA. FILES then advised that before
KENNEDY was shot, he (FILES), at the request of NICOLETTI, transported
guns and hand grenades in a car from Chicago to Dallas, Texas.
FILES advised that he heard NICOLETTI and an individual he
knew as JOHNNY ROSSELLI, plan the assassination of KENNEDY.
Agents asked FILES if he actually saw NICOLETTI shoot KENNEDY.
FILES stated that he did not actually see NICOLETTI shoot KENNEDY.
FILES added that since NICOLETTI planned the
Continuation of FD-302 of JAMES FILES, On 8/9/93, Page 7
assassination and was there by the DAL-TEX building, he knows that
NICOLETTI was the one who shot at KENNEDY.
SA ZYDRON then read in verbatim to FILES the following excerpt
of the report previously furnished to the FBI by attorney IRVIN:
"When the motorcade came through FILES was on the knoll behind
the fence and under the limbs of a tree. As KENNEDY's limo
approached, FILES began hearing shots from behind the President. He
had KENNEDY in his telescopic sight. He knew that one of the shots
had hit KENNEDY in the back but was not necessarily a fatal hit.
FILES, while having KENNEDY in his cross hairs as the limo was moving,
said to himself upon hearing each shot "miss, miss, miss, miss". At
this point FILES was concerned that NICOLETTI would not kill KENNEDY.
The car was passing in his field of vision, so that Mrs. KENNEDY would
soon be lined up behind the President. FILES' instructions had always
been that in a hit no innocent parties were to be harmed. FILES was
afraid that if he shot any later that he would shoot Mrs. KENNEDY as
well as the President. He made the decision to go ahead and shoot
even though "CHUCKIE" was still apparently shooting. He fired and his
shot hit KENNEDY on the right front temple between the ear and the eye
with the bullet exiting the rear of the head. At almost the same
instant of this shot "CHUCKIE" hit KENNEDY in the left rear top of the
head. FILES saw Mrs. KENNEDY climb to the back of the limo and pick
up a section of the President's head. He was also aware at this time
that CONNALLY had been hit."
Agents asked FILES to comment about the accuracy of the
statement. In response, FILES expressed displeasure over IRVIN
providing the statement to the FBI. FILES advised that he would only
admit that the statement was accurate as to the actions of NICOLETTI
and ROSSELLI. FILES added that he was concerned over his exposure to
Agents asked FILES to explain the discrepancy contained in the
above excerpted statement and what he said during this
interview-namely, that statement indicated that he (FILES) saw
NICOLETTI shoot at KENNEDY where during this interview, he (FILES)
admitted that he did not actually see NICOLETTI shoot KENNEDY. FILES
did not provide an explanation in that regard.
Continuation of FD-302 of JAMES FILES, On 8/9/93, Page 8
Agents asked FILES if any people were near him while he openly
displayed his .222 pistol with scope on the grassy knoll in DEALY
PLAZA. FILES recalled that there were other people in the area.
Agents asked FILES to describe his feelings after he (FILES)
shot KENNEDY. When FILES failed to respond, Agents asked if he felt
good, bad, indifferent or even feared getting caught by the FBI.
FILES did not provide an explanation in that regard except for stating
that he (FILES) hated KENNEDY for not providing air support for the
Cubans in the Bay of Pigs.
Agents asked FILES if he would submit to a polygraph
examination in regard to the KENNEDY assassination. FILES stated he
would refuse to take a polygraph examination.
Agents asked FILES to state his motive for revealing his
knowledge of the KENNEDY assassination after almost 30 years had
transpired. FILES stated that he was contacted by JOE WEST who said
he (WEST) was referred to him by an unnamed FBI Agent. FILES recalled
that WEST told him that an FBI Agent said FILES previously took him
(FBI Agent) on a tour in Dallas and told him (FBI Agent) about the
KENNEDY assassination. FILES denied talking to any FBI Agent in that
regard. FILES added that until this interview, he could not recall
having any discussions of substance with any FBI Agent.
FILES then advised that he wanted a grant of immunity because
WEST had expressed his intent to subpoena him before the grand jury
investigating the KENNEDY assassination. FILES reiterated his concern
of exposure to additional charges following a possible favorable
appeal to his current conviction.
Agents asked FILES if he expected any consideration in
exchange for his information relating to the KENNEDY assassination.
FILES stated he did not expect or want any consideration for his
information. FILES stated he was not concerned if anyone ever learned
about his information on the KENNEDY assassination.
Agents told FILES that IRVIN's report indicated that FILES had
possible information in regard to other murders. FILES stated that he
would not provide information that could put anyone in jail. FILES
expressed concern that the mob could
Continuation of FD-302 of JAMES FILES, On 8/9/93, Page 9
retaliate against him by harming his daughters who reside in the
FILES denied that he was interviewed and/or sought interview with the
media in an effort to publicize his recollections of the KENNEDY
At the conclusion of the interview, FILES was told that Agents
would report the results of the interview to their headquarters.
It is noted that when FILES was made available for interview,
he carried several items of written material. A quick review of this
material revealed it to be correspondence between FILES and JOE WEST
and written material in regard to the KENNEDY assassination.