Stephen Rivele


Stephen Rivele was born on 6th May 1949. Rivele became an investigative journalist with a strong interest in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In 1981 met Christian David, the leader of the Corsican network in South America. David was awaiting extradition to France to stand trial for murdering a policeman. David told Rivele that he had information on the Kennedy assassination, in return for which he wanted a deal with the U.S. government to block his extradition to France. Through Rivele's efforts, a federal judge temporarily halted David's extradition.

In return for Rivele's help, David told him that Kennedy's assassination had been organized by Antoine Guerini, the Corsican crime boss in Marseilles. David turned down the contract but was accepted by Lucien Sarti and two other members of the Marseilles mob. According to David, Sarti fired from behind the wooden fence on the grassy knoll. The first shot was fired from behind and hit Kennedy in the back. The second shot was fired from behind, and hit John Connally. The third shot was fired from in front, and hit Kennedy in the head. The fourth shot was from behind and missed.

Rivele's material was used in the 1988 television documentary, The Men Who Killed Kennedy. As well as Lucien Sarti he also named Sauveur Pironti and Roger Bocognani as being involved in the killing. However, Pironti and Bocognani both had alibis and Rivele was forced to withdraw the allegation.

Rivele is the co-author of The Plumber: The True Story of How One Good Man Helped Destroy the Entire Philadelphia Mafia (1991), The Mothershed Case (1992) and Lieutenant Ramsey's War: From Horse Soldier to Guerrilla Commander (1996). He also wrote the screenplays: Nixon (1995) and Ali (2001).

Recently Rivele commented that: "I believe that Sarti was involved, but apparently I was wrong on the other two. If I were working on the case today, I'd look at Paul Mondoloni of Montreal... Two points I would add: I saw a documentary TV show last year about the KGB's investigation of the assassination, and was amazed to learn that they came to the same conclusion as me. Second, I was contacted two years ago by a former CIA agent (who worked in the mind control program among others), who told me that I was right about the assassination. Small comfort but better than nothing."

Primary Sources

(1) Stephen Rivele, transcript from The Men Killed Who Kennedy (1988)

The initial turning point was the first meeting that I had with the French narcotics trafficker at Leavenworth Penitentiary. His name was Christian David. He had been a member of the old French Connection heroin network. He had then been a leader of the Corsican drug trafficking network in South America known as the Latin Connection. And he had also been an intelligence agent for a number of intelligence services around the world. In exchange for my help in finding him an attorney to represent him against the possibility of his deportation to France after he finished his sentence at Leavenworth, he agreed to give me a certain amount of information concerning the assassination based upon his own knowledge. The first thing that he told me, very reluctantly and only after four or five hours of my arguing with him, was that he was aware that there had been a conspiracy to murder the president, and indeed in May or June of 1963 in Marseilles, he had been offered the contract to kill President Kennedy. That was the initial breakthrough, if you will. He was eventually deported to France. I remained in contact with him. I went to Paris to interview him in two prisons in Paris. And in the fear that he would be either committed to an asylum or that he would be convicted of an old murder charge, he gradually gave me additional information about the assassination.

David’s position was that there were three killers, and that they had been hired on a contract which had been placed with the leader of the Corsican Mafia at Marseilles, a man named Antoine Guerini. Guerini, he said, was asked to supply three assassins of high quality, experienced killers to murder the President, and that Guerini did so. In the course of one of the first significant conversations I had with David on this subject, he told me that he had been in Marseilles in May or June of 1963, and that every evening he went to Antoine Guerini’s club on the old Port of Marseilles to meet people who owed him money. And one evening, Guerini sent for him, asked him to come to the office which was above the club. Guerini told him that he had an important contract, and he asked David if he were interested. David said, "Who’s the contract on?" Guerini said, "an American politician." David asked, "Well is it a congressman, a senator?" And Guerini said, "higher than that... The highest vegetable." At that point of course David knew who he was talking about. David asked him where was the contract to be carried out. And when Guerini said it would be done inside the United States, David refused on the grounds that that was much too dangerous.

(2) Noel Twyman, Bloody Treason (1998)

In May or June of 1963, he was offered a contract by Antoine Guerini, the Corsican crime boss in Marseilles, to accept a contract to kill "a highly placed American politician" whom Guerini called the "biggest vegetable"- i.e., President Kennedy. The president was to be killed on US territory. David told Rivele that he turned down the contract because it was too dangerous. After David turned down the contract offer, he said it was accepted by Lucien Sarti, another Corsican drug trafficker and killer, and two other members of the Marseilles mob, whom he refused to name. David said he learned what happened about two years after the assassination in a meeting in Buenos Aires, during which Sarti, another drug trafficker named Michele Nicoli, David, and two others were present. During the meeting, the assassination of John F. Kennedy was discussed. This is how the assassination was carried out as David told it to Rivele.

About two weeks before the assassination, Sarti flew from France to Mexico City, from where he drove or was driven to the US border at Brownsville, Texas. Sarti crossed at Brownsville where he was picked up by someone from the Chicago mafia. This person drove him to a private house in Dallas. He did not stay at a hotel, as not to leave records. David believes that Sarti was traveling on an Italian passport. David said the assassins cased Dealey Plaza, took photographs and worked out mathematically how to set up a crossfire. Sarti wanted to fire from the triple underpass bridge, but when he arrived in Dealey Plaza the day of the assassination, there were people there, so he fired from a little hill next to the bridge. There was a wooden fence on that hill, and Sarti fired from behind the wooden fence. He said Sarti only fired once, and used an explosive bullet. He said Kennedy was shot in a crossfire, two shots from behind, and Sarti's shot from the front. Of the two assassins behind, one was high, and one was low. He said you can't understand the wounds if you don't realize that one gun was low, "almost on the horizontal." The first shot was fired from behind and hit Kennedy in the back. The second shot was fired from behind, and hit "the other person in the car." The third shot was fired from in front, and hit Kennedy in the head. The fourth shot was from behind and missed "because the car was too far away." He said that two shots were almost simultaneous.

David said that Kennedy was killed for revenge and money. He said the CIA was incapable of killing Kennedy, but did cover it up. He said the gunmen stayed at the private house in Dallas for approximately two weeks following the assassination, then believes they went to Canada, that there were people in Canada who had the ability to fly them out of North America.

(3) As a result of his research Stephen Rivele came to the conclusion that the plot to kill Kennedy involved Antoine Guerini, Carlos Marcello, Santos Trafficante and Lucien Sarti.

My own conviction at this point is that the contract probably originated with Carlos Marcello of New Orleans who placed it in Marseilles through his colleague Santo Trafficante, Jr. who had the closest relations with Antoine Guérini. Beyond that, it seems reasonable that Giancana of Chicago was involved if we accept Christian David and Michel Nicoli’s idea that the assassins were met at the border by representatives of the Chicago Mafia. And the fact that Sarti’s customers were primarily in New York, and the fact that the assassins evidently moved out of the United States through the Montreal corridor, which was very closely linked to the New York Mafia, also suggests that Gambino may have been involved.