The man accused of sending a Newsweek writer a seizure-inducing tweet left behind a digital trail that the Dallas Police Department traced—beginning with the @jew_goldstein Twitter handle, leading to a burner mobile phone SIM card, and ending with an Apple iCloud account, according to federal court documents unsealed in the case.
Rivello with driver’s license. (credit: Court documents)
John Rayne Rivello was arrested Friday at his Maryland residence and is believed to be the nation’s first defendant accused of federal cyberstalking charges for allegedly victimizing an epileptic with a strobing, epileptogenic online image—in this instance a GIF sent via Twitter.
According to court documents, when Newsweek writer Kurt Eichenwald of Dallas, Texas opened his Twitter feed on December 15, he was met with a strobing message that read, “you deserve a seizure for your post.” Eichenwald, who has written that he has epilepsy, went into an eight-minute seizure where he lost control of his body functions and mental faculty. His wife found him, placed him on the floor, called 911, and took a picture of the offending tweet, according to court records.
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