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Partner Steven Lieberman Quoted in Articles on Subpoena Challenge in Eichenwald Case

July 6, 2018

Partner Steven Lieberman is quoted in two articles, one from The Daily Record and one from Law360, on a Maryland federal judge's rejection of John Rivello's motion to quash subpoenas that Kurt Eichenwald sent to seven parties including Google, PayPal, and Twitter.

A Rothwell Figg team comprised of Steven Lieberman, Jennifer Maisel, and Spencer Johnson represents Mr. Eichenwald, a highly regarded journalist, on a pro bono basis in a civil case arising from a weaponized Twitter attack on him that occurred in December 2016. Mr. Eichenwald is an epileptic who was sent a flashing strobe light with the phrase “You deserve a seizure for your posts” by an anonymous Twitter user who turned out to be Mr. Rivello, a white supremacist. Mr. Rivello was upset about Mr. Eichenwald’s Twitter posts regarding the Presidential election. Mr. Rivello also faces states charges in Texas of aggravated assault with a hate crime enhancement. 

The Judge said Mr. Rivello does not have the right to challenge a third-party subpoena because he has no "personal right or privilege" to the information sought. The subpoenas will reveal who pledged money toward Mr. Rivello's legal defense as well as statements made about the incident by others. A total of seven parties were subpoenaed: PayPal Holdings, Inc., Richard B. Spencer, Google LLC, Charles C. Johnson, AT&T Inc., Twitter Inc., and Appeal Inc.

In the Law360 article, Mr. Lieberman is quoted as saying: "That discovery includes documents definitively linking Mr. Rivello to the weaponized tweet ('You deserve a seizure for your [Twitter] posts') with a flashing strobe light designed to induce a fatal seizure to Mr. Eichenwald. It also includes Mr. Rivello's communications with third parties regarding his plan to attack Mr. Eichenwald, his knowledge of the consequences of sending a flashing strobe light to a person with epilepsy, and his intent to cause serious harm or death."

In The Daily Record article, Mr. Lieberman stated: "This is a case involving a vicious attack on a journalist. Judge Bredar is being careful and thoughtful and innovative in dealing with issues in the case.”

To read the article, "Reporter’s claim of tweet-induced seizure survives subpoena challenge," in The Daily Record, click here.

To read the article, "Subpoenas Of Google, Twitter In Reporter's Assault Suit OK'd" by Law360, click here.