FBI Arrests Man Who Allegedly Gave Kurt Eichenwald a Seizure Over Twitter
- Author: Annette Adams Mar 19, 2017,
Mar 19, 2017, 0:10
Eichenwald, whose form of epilepsy can be triggered by flashing, strobe-like light lights, announced on Twitter on Friday that the man who allegedly sent the tweet had been arrested after a three-month investigation.
The FBI and police in Maryland and Dallas, where Eichenwald resides, investigated the case and arrested John Rayne Rivello, 29, on Friday.
The flashing "Gif" image had been sent to Kurt Eichenwald, a writer and editor for Newsweek and Vanity Fair in December, including a message, "You deserve a seizure for your post", reported a criminal complaint.
Officials say a search warrant of Rivello's Twitter account revealed direct messages between Rivello and others with statements bragging about what he sent.
Eichenwald has been public about having epilepsy. Soon after the appearance, Eichenwald, who suffers from epilepsy, received a number of Twitter messages that were created to induce a seizure, and one of those messages achieved its goal.
Investigators found a screenshot on his iCloud account of an altered Wikipedia page for Mr Eichenwald, falsely listing his date of death as 16 December, a day after the image was sent.
But they warned that photo-sensitivity and its relation to epilepsy is not very well understood. Eichenwald said the images were created to trigger an epileptic seizure.
Soon after, Eichenwald's wife tweeted from his account, "This is his wife, you caused a seizure". "It wasn't the content of the communication that was meant to persuade somebody or make them feel badly about themselves; this was an electronic communication that was created to have a physical effect". "This was an electronic communication that was created to have a physical effect".
The suspect, who was not immediately identified, is expected to appear in Baltimore federal court on Friday afternoon. This is due in part to the fact that it's not exactly ethical to gather patients with epilepsy and expose them to images that could trigger a seizure-especially since seizures can be deadly.
Eichenwald's case is different from other online stalking or bullying lawsuits because the tweet Eichenwald received wasn't just sent to harm him emotionally, it was created to target his medical condition, The New York Times pointed out in a report.