N.Y. man admits planning Islamic State-inspired New Year's Eve attack

August 11, 2016 5:55 PM EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York man pleaded guilty on Thursday to planning a New Year's Eve attack last year inspired by Islamic State, the U.S. Department of Justice said, and faces up to 20 years in federal prison when he is sentenced in November.

Emanuel Lutchman, 25, of Rochester, pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State.

Lutchman expressed support for Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, on social media, including videos and images distributed by the violent extremist group, according to court documents.

In December 2015, Lutchman contacted Abu Issa Al-Amriki, an Islamic State member in Syria, after reading an online guide on how to carry out attacks on non-believers, prosecutors said.

Al-Amriki, who was killed in a drone strike earlier this year, instructed Lutchman to kill civilians on New Year's Eve in the name of Islamic State, according to the government.

Lutchman and an informant secretly working with federal agents purchased a machete, knives, ski masks and other materials on Dec. 29, 2015, in preparation for the attack, prosecutors said.

Lutchman was arrested on Dec. 30, shortly after recording a video in which he pledged allegiance to Islamic State and vowed to "spill the blood" of non-believers.

Local media in Rochester quoted his grandmother as saying Lutchman converted to Islam while previously imprisoned, and he suffered from mental issues in the past, according to his family.

The Justice Department has brought more than 90 Islamic State-related cases since 2014.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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