A Maryland man blames post-traumatic stress from his overseas military service for impelling him to tweet an animated GIF intended to trigger an epileptic seizure in a North Texas Newsweek reporter.
Federal officials arrested 29-year-old John Rayne Rivello, of Salisbury, Maryland, on Friday on an interstate domestic violence charge.
By Monday, the U.S Department of Justice and a Dallas grand jury had issued indictments against Rivello. As NBC News reports, the grand jury's indictment refers to the GIF, or Graphic Interchange Format, as "a deadly weapon."
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The criminal complaint was filed in Dallas in December by Kurt Eichenwald, a Newsweek reporter with epilepsy who lives in the area.
Prosecutors say Rivello sent a strobe image to Eichenwald's Twitter account intended to trigger a seizure.
Included with the image was the message: "You deserve a seizure for your posts."
The image, which did trigger a seizure, was apparently sent in response to Eichenwald's outspoken criticism of then-President-elect Donald Trump.
In a statement Tuesday, Rivello says he apologized to Eichenwald and is seeking counseling. The charge still stands.