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Suspect in tweeted seizure attack faces hate-crime charge

A tweet to journalist Kurt Eichenwald allegedly came with the message: "You deserve a seizure."

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John Rayne Rivello has been indicted on one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a charge that has a hate-crime enhancement.

Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The man accused of sending a tweet to journalist Kurt Eichenwald that triggered an epileptic seizure is facing a hate-crime charge.

John Rayne Rivello has been indicted on one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a charge that has a hate-crime enhancement, the Dallas News reported Tuesday. Rivello, 29, was arrested Friday at his Maryland home on federal charges of cyberstalking in connection with the case.

Eichenwald, a Dallas-based journalist who writes for Vanity Fair and Newsweek, has written openly about his epilepsy in past years. In December, a Twitter user with the handle @jew_goldstein sent him a strobing GIF, which induced a seizure. According to Eichenwald, the tweet came with the message: "You deserve a seizure."

The incident happened after he appeared on television and criticized then-President-elect Donald Trump's policies.

According to the affidavit, Rivello's Twitter account contained direct messages from Rivello's account to other Twitter users concerning the victim. In addition, Rivelo's iCloud account allegedly contained a screenshot of a Wikipedia page of the victim, which had been altered to show a fake obituary with the date of death listed as Dec. 16, 2016.

Rivello was released from Dallas County Jail early Tuesday after posting bail, the newspaper reported.

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