Litigation » Tweet Considered ‘Deadly Weapon’ In Seizure Case

Tweet Considered ‘Deadly Weapon’ In Seizure Case

Illustration of a forbidden signal with hash tag

March 23, 2017

A Maryland man sent journalist Kurt Eichenwald a tweet containing an animated strobe, knowing that Eichenwald suffers from epilepsy. The tweet included the message, “YOU DESERVE A SEIZURE FOR YOUR POSTS.” The tweet did send Eichenwald into a seizure, prompting law enforcement officials to charge John Rayne Rivello with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The charge also includes a hate crime enhancement, based on allegations of anti-Semitism related to the crime; Rivello posed as Ari Goldstein and tweeted under the account @jew_goldstein, which has been suspended. Lawyers for Rivello said in a statement that their client is “a Marine veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, immediately apologized for the incident” and is “seeking help from the VA.” Eichenwald, a senior writer for Newsweek, was sent into an epileptic seizure that lasted for eight minutes after viewing the tweet. Impairments from that seizure lasted for several months, according to court documents.

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