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Man charged with assault with a deadly weapon for sending tweet with flashing light to Newsweek reporter

By Mason White 6:33 PM March 23, 2017
John Rayne Rivello and his tweet
John Rayne Rivello and his tweet
By: Mason White

(Scroll down for video) A man is facing charges after sending a tweet containing a flashing light to a reporter who suffers from epilepsy, according to police in Maryland.

The Maryland man was arrested on a federal criminal complaint, charging him with cyberstalking a Dallas, Texas resident, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

Additionally, the suspect has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, said Brittany Dunn with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office.

John Rayne Rivello, 29, of Salisbury, Maryland, was arrested on a criminal complaint filed in the Northern District of Texas.

According to the allegations in the affidavit filed with the complaint, the victim, Kurt Eichenwald of Newsweek, who is known to suffer from epilepsy, received a message via Twitter from Rivello.

The tweet contained an animated strobe image embedded with the statement: “You deserve a seizure for your post.”

Upon viewing the flashing strobe image, the victim immediately suffered a seizure.

Additionally, according to the affidavit, evidence received pursuant to a search warrant showed Rivello’s Twitter account contained direct messages from Rivello’s account to other Twitter users concerning the victim.

Among those direct messages, Rivello said, including “I hope this sends him into a seizure,” “Spammed this at [victim] let’s see if he dies,” and “I know he has epilepsy.”

Additional evidence received pursuant to a search warrant showed Rivello’s iCloud account contained a screenshot of a Wikipedia page for the victim, which had been altered to show a fake obituary with a date of death.

Rivello’s iCloud account also contained screenshots from with a list of commonly reported epilepsy seizure triggers and from, discussing the victim’s report to the Dallas Police Department and his attempt to identify the Twitter user @jew_goldstein.

The @jew_goldstein account has since been suspended by Twitter.