The Rochester man who was convicted of conspiracy to providing material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was sentenced to 20 years in prison and 50 years supervised release on Thursday.
"Emanuel Lutchman conspired with an ISIL member located overseas and planned to kill innocent civilians on U.S. soil in the name of the terrorist organization," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord.
"This defendant was in direct personal communication with an individual who was an external attack planner and influential recruiter for ISIL in Syria," said Acting United States Attorney James Kennedy. "That individual is now deceased, but, while living, he acted essentially as a terror trainer to Emanuel Lutchman and others."
Kennedy says Lutchman and the terror trainer discussed a plan for Lutchman to make a murderous attack within the City of Rochester to establish his value as a future terrorist for ISIL in Syria.
Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI's Buffalo Division Adam Cohen says Lutchman admitted to accepting a directive from Abu Issa Al Amriki, a known ISIL leader, to kill multiple Americans on New Year's Eve in 2015 using knives and a machete. Cohen says Abu Issa Al-Amriki is now dead.
According to court documents, Lutchman posted expressions of support for ISIL on social media and downloaded and watched terrorism-related videos. He also had a digital collection of documents related to terrorism and terrorist groups, including those giving guidance to people wanting to travel overseas to engage in violent jihad, or "lone wolf" terrorist attacks in the US and elsewhere.
Lutchman received an online document written by an ISIL member in December 2015 providing guidance to supporters who were trying to travel overseas to join ISIL.
On December 25, 2015, Lutchman initiated online contact with Al-Amriki who told Lutchman to plan an attack. Al-Amriki told Lutchman to write a note before the attack so that it could be posted online afterwards to show Lutchman's allegiance to ISIL.
In late December 2015, Lutchman communicated with other individuals who he did not know were cooperating with the FBI. Lutchman expressed his strong support of ISIL to them and his desires to travel overseas to join the terrorist group. He also discussed in detail his online conversations with Al-Amriki.
On December 27, 2015, Lutchman admitted to discussing potential targets with Al-Amriki and that he was told to find the most populated area and kill as many people as possible.
Throughout their conversations, Al-Amriki promised to help Lutchman get to Syria once he committed his attack.
Lutchman admitted to conspiring with one of the individuals cooperating with the FBI, laying out a plan for the New Year's Eve attack and where they would target people. He said they went to buy weapons and talked about making a video before the operation, which Lutchman would release after the attack.
Lutchman made a video on December 30, 2015 pledging his allegiance to ISIL and al-Baghdadi. Immediately after, law enforcement agents arrested Lutchman and recovered the weapons he and the cooperative individual bought the day before.
Lutchman has been detained in federal custody since his arrest on December 30, 2015. He was arrested by the FBI's Rochester Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).