A Maryland man is being charged with aggravated assault for tweeting an animated strobe image at a journalist who has epilepsy. 29-year old John Rayne Rivello will be charged with assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Dallas County District Attorney’s office.
A grand jury referred the case on because it feels Rivello intentionally sent the tweet knowing that the journalist, Kurt Eichenwald, who was “susceptible to seizures and that such animations are capable of causing seizures.” The prosecution contends that Rivello has a disdain for jews.
Eichenwald’s attorney, Timothy Perkins, told CNN: “We consider the message like a bomb or sending anthrax to someone in the mail.”
Rivello was previously charged with cyberstalking.
“After a 3-month investigation, the FBI this morning arrested the man who assaulted me using a strobe on twitter that triggered a seizure,” Eichenwald tweeted last Friday.
Prosecutors also claim they have evidence that Rivello send direct messages to other Twitter users, such as, “I hope this sends him into a seizure.” They also intend to use Epilepsy seizure known instigators, such as strobe lights, which are listed on epilepsy websites. Eichenwald has been public about having epilepsy.
“It’s what’s called epileptogenic — something that triggers seizures. Fortunately, since I was standing, I simply dropped my iPad to the ground the second I realized what Mike had done. It landed face down on the bathroom floor,” he wrote in Newsweek.