A man accused of sending a flashing ‘gif’ image to a writer with epilepsy has been arrested, according to the US Justice Department.
John Rayne Rivello, 29, was arrested on Friday for allegedly sending the flashing image to the writer in order to trigger a seizure. The flashing image was sent on Twitter in December.
The message on the image sent to Kurt Eichenwald on Twitter said: ”You deserve a seizure for your posts”. The FBI and police in Maryland and Dallas, where Eichenwald lives, investigated the case and John Rayne Rivello was arrested on early Friday. The New York Times reports that the man has been charged with criminal cyber stalking and could face a ten year sentence.
Flashing Image and Investigation
Mr. Eichenwald suffered a seizure after opening the flashing image and after a three month investigation, Rivello was arrested. Mr. Eichenwald, who is a writer for Newsweek, is known to have epilepsy. Investigators found that Mr. Rivello had messaged other Twitter users about what he planned to do. They also found that the man had searched how to trigger epilepsy seizures. An image of an edited Wikipedia page of the writer was also found on his iCloud account. The page falsely listed his date of death as December 16. The flashing image was sent to Mr. Eichenwald on December 15.
Mr. Eichenwald’s wife tweeted from his account shortly after the image was sent that it had caused him a seizure. He recently tweeted that more than 40 people had sent strobes once they found out it could trigger seizures. He added on the tweet that details of their cases are with the FBI.
The US Justice Department did not reveal why the man sent the flashing image to Mr. Eichenwald. Mr. Rivello will be transferred to Dallas, Texas, where Mr. Eichendwald resides.