An online troll has found himself on trial for aggravated assault after he posted a strobing image on his twitter page with the caption reading: “You deserved a seizure for your post.” The image resulted in the journalist suffering a seizure that almost ended his life. This could signify the beginning of the end for cyberbullying and trolling as they are now being held accountable for even online activity.
The incident took place in December 2016 when journalist Kurt Eichenwald wrote a story about President Trump. John Rayne Rivello, a self-described Trump supporter, took issue with what was written about the president in Eichenwald’s article.
Instead of expressing his frustration in a calm sensible manner, Rivello discovered Eichenwald was epileptic. With that in mind, Rivello posted a strobing image on the journalist’s social media account, causing a violent seizure which almost resulted in the journalist dying, the Daily Mail reported.
Eichenwald stated in court that if it was not for his wife walking in the room at the time of his seizure, he would be dead. After 911 was called and Eichenwald was taken to the hospital, Eichenwald’s wife discovered the post that caused her husband’s nearly 8-minute long seizure.
Using his account, the wife responded to Rivello account stating: “This is his wife, you caused a seizure. I have your information and have called the police to report the assault.”
Since that night, the Eichenwaldes have been engaged in a lengthy legal battle with Rivello. Throughout the trial, Eichenwald’s attorney was adamant in his argument that Rivello acted with malicious intent.
“Just like a terrorist who mails a bomb, or an envelope filled with anthrax, Mr Rivello knew and intended his Twitter message with a flashing strobe light would cause serious harm-and perhaps even death-to Mr Eichenwald,” the attorney argued.
To further solidify this assertion, several private messages Rivello sent to other users about wanting to do harm to the journalist were also revealed in court.
“I hope this sends him into a seizure,” Rivello wrote in one message. He said in another: “Let’s see if he dies.”
Rivello was expected to plead guilty in a Dallas County court on Monday, but the trial was rescheduled to January 31st for unrelated reasons.