Rochester man pleads guilty in terror case

Aug 12, 2016

A Rochester man accused of a terrorist-inspired plan to kill people in Rochester on New Year's Eve has pleaded guilty to a federal charge.

On Thursday, 26-year-old Emanuel Lutchman  entered a guilty plea to the charge of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, namely, ISIL.

Credit WXXI-FM

Federal prosecutors say that Lutchman had been in touch with a member of the terrorist group in Syria, who motivated him to plan an attack at the Merchant's Grill in Rochester on New Year's Eve. Lutchman was arrested and that attack never happened. Officials also say Lutchman's contact in Syria later died.

After his arrest, there were stories that raised questions about mental health issues for Lutchman, but U.S. Attorney William Hochul says that was not part of this plea in federal court.

"In fact nobody has ever mentioned mental illness, other than perhaps family members who are understandably sympathetic to Mr. Lutchman," said Hochul. "But as far as the court proceedings were concerned , as far as counsel for Mr. Lutchman is concerned, there's never been on allegation that this was not a knowing and intentional plan on his part to kill Americans."

Lutchman's aunt spoke to reporters outside the courtroom and said she doubts her nephew committed this crime. She maintains he pled guilty to stop officials from harassing his family. 

Lutchman is due back in court for sentencing in November and he could get up to 20 years in prison .