By Jonathan Stempel
(Reuters) – An upstate New York man was sentenced on Thursday to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State, in connection with his alleged role in preparing a New Year’s Eve attack in 2015 at a local club or bar.
Emanuel Lutchman, 26, of Rochester, was sentenced by Chief Judge Frank Geraci of the federal court in that city, following his August 11 guilty plea, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
The prison term was the maximum possible, and Lutchman was also sentenced to 50 years of supervised release. He has been in custody since his Dec. 30, 2015 arrest.
A federal public defender representing Lutchman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
According to his plea agreement, Lutchman admitted to having bought a machete, knives, ski masks and other items for his attack, in which he was prepared to kidnap or kill people, and planned to later release a video explaining his actions.
The defendant also admitted to having conspired with Abu Issa Al-Amriki, a now deceased member of Islamic State in Syria, hoping that a successful attack would help him gain membership into the group, the Justice Department said.
Lutchman had also expressed support for Islamic State on social media, and gathered issues of Inspire, an online magazine published by al Qaeda, designed to help people conduct “‘lone wolf’ terrorist attacks” in the United States, the department added.
The defendant was arrested soon after recording a video in which he pledged allegiance to Islamic State, vowed to “spill the blood” of non-believers, and asked Allah to “make this a victory.”
Lutchman’s lawyer had sought a 10-year prison term.
In a court filing, he said Lutchman had since age 14 had “extensive” mental health issues including bipolar disorder and depression, and was easily influenced by radical Islam, but has now “renounced” Islamic State and “seen its empty promise.”
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)