Court Of Appeals Affirms Conviction And Sentence Of Rochester Man Who Was Planning Deadly Attack To Pledge His Support To ISIL
ROCHESTER, N.Y. —U. S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has affirmed the conviction and sentence of Emanuel L. Lutchman.
On April 11, 2016, the defendant pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. to conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). On January 26, 2017, Judge Geraci sentenced Lutchman to 20 years in prison and 50 years supervised released.
According to court documents, Lutchman posted on social media expressions of support for ISIL, including images, videos and documents relating to ISIL and violent jihad. Lutchman also downloaded and watched terrorism-related videos, including videos relating to ISIL and the now-deceased terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki. The defendant also maintained a digital collection of documents relating to terrorism and terrorist groups.
On December 25, 2015, Lutchman initiated online contact with Abu Issa Al-Amriki, an ISIL member and external attack planner in Syria, who told the defendant to plan an attack on New Year’s Eve and kill a number of kuffar (non-believers and infidels), in order to pledge his allegiance to ISIL. Al-Amriki was subsequently killed in an airstrike in Syra in 2016.
Lutchman also communicated with other individuals who, unbeknownst to the defendant, were cooperating with the FBI. In these communications, Lutchman discussed details of the New Year’s Eve attack, including potential targets. One identified target was the Merchant’s Grill, a bar/restaurant in Rochester. On December 29, 2015, Lutchman went to a store in Rochester to purchase weapons and supplies for the attack, including two black ski masks, two knives, a machete, zip-ties, duct tape, ammonia and latex gloves.
The defendant told that individual that “the operation is a go,” and noted that many victims would have to be killed. On December 30, 2015, Lutchman made a video pledging allegiance to ISIL. In reference to the planned New Year’s Eve attack, the defendant stated, “the blood that you spill of the Muslim overseas we gonna spill the blood of the kuffar,” and asked Allah to “make this a victory.” Immediately thereafter, law enforcement agents arrested Lutchman.
In their decision, the Circuit Judges noted: “Lutchman’s behavior at the end of the sentencing proceeding validated the district court’s conclusion. Lutchman had maintained a pretense of remorse that was dropped after the sentence was announced. Lutchman then laughed, reaffirmed his allegiance to ISIL’s leader, and stated that more individuals like him would “rise up.” We see no error in the imposition of the statutory maximum sentence.”
The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Rochester Joint Terrorism Task Force. On appeal, the government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tiffany H. Lee and Brett A. Harvey.
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