An alleged internet troll who operated under the Twitter handle @jew_goldstein has been arrested by FBI agents for tweeting a flashing image to an epileptic.
The individual, who has been identified as John Rayne Rivello, 29, was detained at his home in Maryland and faces federal charges after sending the flashing image to a journalist who has written extensively about his experiences with the potentially deadly condition.
The message was sent on December 15 to Kurt Eichenwald, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and senior writer with Newsweek, who had a fit when he saw the tweet. Hours earlier, he had sparred with a host on Fox News over his hostile coverage of Donald Trump’s election campaign.
Rivello has been charged with criminal cyber stalking with the intent to kill or cause bodily harm and could face a 10-year sentence, the New York Times reported.
“Upon viewing the flashing strobe image the victim immediately suffered a seizure,” a spokesman for the Justice Department said.
The Twitter account and offending tweet have since been deleted, but the message is alleged to have included the words: “You deserve a seizure.”
Mr Eichenwald’s lawyer, Steven Lieberman said: “What [this person] did was no different from someone sending a bomb in the mail.”
While it is not clear why Rivello tweeted under the name @jew_goldstein, his case has attracted attention from America’s far right who have come out in support of him.
Mr Eichenwald, who has a Jewish father, is reported to have suffered the effects of the seizure for several weeks. He tweeted on Friday that more than 40 people had sent him "strobes" after learning about the case.