GIF as a deadly weapon: Man charged over seizure-inducing tweet to journalist

GIF as a deadly weapon: Man charged over seizure-inducing tweet to journalist
In a landmark federal case, a man has been charged in the US with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for sending a malicious tweet which triggered an epileptic fit.

John Rayne Rivello, 29, was arrested by the FBI on March 17, following a three-month investigation into a tweet sent to journalist Kurt Eichenwald on December 15, 2016.

The official legal complaint alleges that the defendant sent the tweet while fully aware that it contained “an animated strobe image, knowing that the complainant was susceptible to seizures and that such animations are capable of causing seizures.”

The tweet in question also contained the message: “You deserve a seizure for your posts.”

The FBI and the Dallas Police Department investigated the case with help from local law enforcement in Maryland.

The defendant’s lawyers released a statement Tuesday highlighting that their client, a marine veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, regretted his actions, but blamed post-traumatic stress from his military service for his behavior, according to AP.

READ MORE: Assault by Twitter? Journalist Eichenwald says seizure triggered by social media user

A series of direct messages from the now-suspended @jew-goldenstein Twitter handle used to carry out the attack read, “I hope this sends him into a seizure”, “Spammed this at [victim] let’s see if he dies”, and “I know he has epilepsy”, according to the court affidavit.

A black-and-white image of the offending tweet was also released by the Dallas Court.