A Texas Case Says a GIF Can Be a Weapon

Posted by at 6:19 am on March 23, 2017

A Texas grand jury this week indicted a man for using an animated GIF to cause Newsweek journalist Kurt Eichenwald to suffer a seizure, in what could be the first case to legally consider a GIF to be an assault weapon.

Eichenwald, who has epilepsy, suffered a seizure after he received a GIF in December from the defendant, John Rivello, according to the FBI‘s criminal complaint. The GIF, which Rivello sent via Twitter, contained an animated strobe image embedded with the statement, “You deserve a seizure for your post.”

Rivello’s tweet was sent shortly after Eichenwald appeared on Fox News to discuss his claim that President Donald Trump was once institutionalized in a mental hospital. Please Note Washington Post reports there is no evidence to support that claim.

The FBI arrested Rivello, of Salisbury, Maryland, on Friday and charged him with violating a federal cyberstalking law. A Dallas grand jury indicted him for using Twitter and the GIF as a “deadly weapon,” per the WaPostPost.

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