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."
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.