Arrest Made in Twitter Strobe Light Attack on Epileptic Journalist

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has arrested a Maryland man in connection with a seizure-inducing image sent to an epileptic journalist over Twitter, authorities said Friday. The man, identified as 29-year-old John Rayne Rivello, faces a charge of criminal cyberstalking with intent to kill or cause bodily harm. A tweet authorities say Rivello sent to Kurt Eichenwald in December caused the journalist to suffer a seizure, and investigators say Rivello boasted about the attack to other Twitter users. Steven Lieberman, Eichenwald’s lawyer, said the image was just as harmful to the journalist as other weapons. “This electronic message was no different than a bomb sent in the mail or anthrax sent in an envelope,” Lieberman told the New York Times. “It triggers a physical effect,” he said. Investigators say Rivello not only knew that Eichenwald suffered from epilepsy, but had also hoped he would die from a seizure. Rivello had taken a screenshot on his computer of Eichenwald’s Wikipedia page altered to list the journalist’s date of death as Dec. 16, 2016 – the day after the strobe light GIF was sent to him. Rivello’s case will be heard in Texas, and he faces up to 10 years behind bars.