The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Friday arrested the man who used Twitter to cause Newsweek writer Kurt Eichenwald have a seizure.
John Rivello, 29, was busted by the FBI at his house in Maryland. He’s being charged under a federal cyberstalking statute. He’s expected to appear in a federal court in Dallas next week.
The crime happened last December when Rivello, using a Twitter username “Ari Goldstein” or [email protected]_goldstein,” sent Eichenwald an animated GIF image that says “you deserve a seizure.”
Eichenwald’s Twitter account then responded with: “This is his wife, you caused a seizure. I have your information and have called the police to report the assault.”
The Daily Caller reports:
An FBI affidavit says that Rivello told other Twitter users over direct message he knows Eichenwald suffers from epilepsy and that he hopes the gif “sends him into a seizure.” A search warrant also found that Rivello took a screenshot of a Wikipedia page that had been altered to show that Eichenwald died on the day of the Twitter interaction.
Peter Stephenson, an expert in cyber criminology, believed the suspect’s tweet constituted an assault.
Eichenwald’s attorney Steven Lieberman echoed this and told Newsweek that Rivello’s actions are no different from “sending a bomb in the mail or sending an envelope filled with Anthrax spores.”