Calling a gif a “deadly weapon” seems absurd, but if Eichenwald truly had a seizure, then Rivello may arguably have intentionally triggered it with the gif. Eichenwald’s lawyer’s analogy to sending an anthrax covered letter has some logic. [A Tweet to Kurt Eichenwald, a Strobe and a Seizure. Now, an Arrest, by Cecilia Kang, March 17, 2017]Of course, this assumes Eichenwald is telling the truth about his seizure. But even if Eichenwald did not have a seizure, Rivello may still be liable on both state and federal charges. The federal cyberstalking law criminalizes acts by someone who "causes, attempts to cause. . .substantial emotional distress,” and the Texas assault statute applies to one who “threatens another with imminent bodily injury.” [18 U.S.C. § 2261A; Texas Penal Code § 22.01 (a)(2). Emphases added].Still, both the Federal and the Dallas indictments took Eichenwald’s claim at face value and referred to other parts of the statutes that required a physical injury. Given that the prosecution is already a stretch, I am sure that the case will fall apart if it turns out Eichenwald is lying about his seizure.But regardless of the ultimate outcome of the case, Rivello’s defense will be prohibitively costly. Chuck Johnson’s Wesearchr is raising money for Rivello’s legal defense, which is currently at $14,000, but that is just a small fraction of what he’ll need. He will need top notch lawyers both at the state and federal level, there will almost certainly be appeals of multiple issues before the trial even starts, and then he’ll need to retain an expert neurologist to argue that Eichenwald did not have a seizure. This will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.Unlike Eichenwald, Rivello does not appear to have a fancy pro-bono lawyers. And as being branded an anti-Semite is a kiss of death in contemporary society, he will have trouble finding any employment.And this is really the point of Eichenwald’s crusade. There were literally hundreds of articles in the MSM about the epidemic of Twitter harassment from racist trolls. Yet pretty much the only “victims” are MSM journalists themselves. Many of these tweets were truly nasty stuff that I would never defend, but the journalists could very easily just mute or block these trolls. Instead they pretend that a few distasteful tweets put them in imminent harm, and they portrayed themselves as simultaneously as courageous and victimized.And their whining successfully got social media companies to crack down on free speech and ramp up censorship against “hate speech.”Eichenwald’s alleged seizure is the physical manifestation of this victimhood. And he’s shown that the MSM and its allied attorneys can now influence Federal and state law enforcement to go after the trolls.As this situation is so unusual, it’s premature to predict that the prosecution will lead to criminal crackdown against all mean tweets. But the fact that the law enforcement authorities apparently took Eichenwald’s claims at face value (the complaint makes no mention of talking to his doctor or doing any research on epilepsy), shows where their biases lie.I do not condone Rivello’s tweets, but Eichenwald could have taken incredibly easy steps to prevent seeing animated gifs (Both Twitter and most web browsers allow you to keep them from automatically playing.) While this is not a legal defense, it is a much better answer than having the federal and state governments spend hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars investigating and prosecuting one Twitter troll.But of course, that’s not the point. The point is repression.I should say that the indictment’s reference to VDARE.com does not suggest the Feds are after our readers. As noted, it was included alongside mainstream sources to show that Rivello had been reading about photosensitive epilepsy, not to justify the Hate Crime charges against him. The misspelling further suggests the FBI is not paying close attention to VDARE.com.However, we must remain vigilant. While the circumstances leading up to Rivello’s arrest are extraordinary, there is nothing extraordinary about MSM journalists pressuring tech giants and law enforcement to silence their alternative media opponents. As VDARE.com’s James Kirkpatrick repeatedly says, the MSM is now the enemy and its hirelings are simply enforcers.John Reid [email him] is an American citizen and a recent law school graduate.
Terrible. But, if charges are under 18 USC 2261A(2), I'm not sure the government has a particularly strong case. https://t.co/JzWHZsEyUX— Orin Kerr (@OrinKerr) March 19, 2017