Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Trial Courthouse, Dies from Injuries

A man has set himself on fire outside the New York City courthouse where the Donald Trump trial is underway.

A man who set himself on fire on Friday afternoon outside the Lower Manhattan courthouse, where former President Donald Trump’s historic criminal trial is being held, has died, police confirmed.

The individual was identified as 37-year-old Maxwell Azzarello from St. Augustine, Florida, according to NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny.

A man has set himself on fire outside the New York City courthouse where the Donald Trump trial is underway.

The incident took place in Collect Pond Park, a designated protest area across from the courthouse. Chief Jeffrey B. Maddrey described the sequence of events during a Friday press briefing. He noted that Azzarello entered the park, spread pamphlets from a backpack, and then doused himself with an alcohol-based cleaning liquid before igniting himself. No statements from Azzarello were reported prior to the act.

“Civilians, court officers, members of the police department, they run into the park, they make efforts to put him out. They use their coats, they use fire extinguishers,” Maddrey stated. Although the fire was extinguished by the fire department, four officers sustained minor injuries in the rescue effort.

Responding to a 911 call at 1:39 p.m. local time, officers found Azzarello engulfed in flames. He was transported to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he was declared deceased before 11 p.m.

As of Saturday, a police spokesperson stated that the motive remains undetermined and the investigation is ongoing. Detective Chief Kenny mentioned that Azzarello had arrived in New York City earlier that week, unbeknownst to his family.

Before setting himself ablaze, Azzarello was seen throwing colorful pamphlets into the air, which Kenny described as containing “propaganda-based, almost like a conspiracy theory type of pamphlet,” discussing Ponzi schemes and alleging that some local educational institutions were mob fronts.

An individual, claiming to be Azzarello, posted on Substack about the incident, mentioning former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush and alleging a cryptocurrency-based global conspiracy.

The self-immolation occurred just after jury selection concluded in Trump’s trial over hush-money payments, marking the first criminal trial of a former U.S. President. Social media videos captured the harrowing scene as smoke billowed near the courthouse, which was heavily guarded due to the trial’s high-profile nature.

Trump, present in the courtroom throughout the trial, faces charges related to a $130,000 payment made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to suppress her allegations of a sexual encounter during the 2016 election.

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