CINCINNATI, Ohio (FOX19) - Cincinnati Lawyer Carl Lewis has filed an appeal on behalf of a Huber Heights man who was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for a hate crime and lying to the FBI.
Izmir Koch was accused of attacking a man in a restaurant parking lot back in February 2017. He said things like “I want to kill all of the Jews” and "I want to stab the Jews,” according to the FBI.
Koch was convicted in December of 2018. It was the first time in Southern District that someone was convicted of the Matthew Sheppard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Koch was also convicted of making false statements to the FBI.
Through his attorney Carl Lewis, he maintains his innocence.
“His version of events is yes, there was some type of altercation in the parking lot and he said he was there, but in his words he did not assault this guy,” Lewis said.
Ben Glassman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, said the Koch prosecution was a necessary one and it sends a strong message that hate won’t be tolerated.
“Where someone has been assaulted on the basis of their race or religion, or sex, It puts the entire community in fear. Prosecuting the hate crime is important because every person has the right to equal protection under the law," said Glassman.
Shep Englander, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, said crimes of hate have increased over the last two years.
“Unfortunately that includes hate increase against Jews. There is increased incidents, vandalism and even increased attacks," said Englander.
Lewis said they plan to review the trail and to find errors in the case and hopefully take it to the Sixth Circuit of appeals. They are hoping for a reversal or reduced sentence.