This is a truly bizarre case.

Remember Kurt Eichenwald? The Journalist who claimed he was assaulted by a tweet? Well, the FBI confirmed Friday they’ve arrested John Rivello, the suspect they believe sent a “seizure-inducing” tweet to Dallas reporter, Kurt Eichenwald. Eichenwald claims the tweet triggered an epileptic seizure.

Professor Jacobson covered the case in December. For background, see here.

The Dallas Morning News reported:

Eichenwald tweeted that the man who “assaulted” him faces federal charges and is also expected to be indicted by the Dallas district attorney on different charges in the next few days.

Eichenwald, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and a senior writer at Newsweek, first said in December that a Twitter troll sent him a flashing video with the message, “you deserve a seizure,” which triggered an epileptic episode.

He received the tweet after appearing on Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight when they argued about each other’s biases and Eichenwald’s coverage of President Donald Trump during the election.

On Friday, Eichenwald said that more than 40 people sent him strobes once they found out that they could trigger seizures.

Hagee said the FBI cannot comment on ongoing investigations, but Eichenwald tweeted that the agency has details of the other cases of strobes and urged those people to “stop sending them.”

Newsweek expounded:

Steven Lieberman, Eichenwald’s lawyer, named the suspect as John Rivello. A law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed the name. FBI officials arrested the man at his home in in Salisbury, Maryland, around 7 a.m. on Friday, according to Lieberman. Rivello was expected to appear at a hearing in federal court in Baltimore on Friday afternoon, Lieberman said.

“What Mr. Rivello did with his Twitter message was no different from someone sending a bomb in the mail or sending an envelope filled with Anthrax spores,” Lieberman says. “It wasn’t the content of the communication that was intended to persuade somebody or make them feel badly about themselves; This was an electronic communication that was designed to have a physical effect.”

Eichenwald tweeted:

Journalist claims he was “assaulted” by something he saw he received on Twitter. The FBI, Dallas PD, Dallas DA, U.S. Attorney, and DHS get involved. Offending tweeter is arrested.

Would the feds have expended so many resources if this was any other private citizen? And what kind of chilling effect will this type of extensive crackdown have?

Send a ridiculous tweet to a journalist and you’ll have the whole of the federal law enforcement brigade on your tail. Horrifying doesn’t quite cut it.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye


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