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Man sets Self on Fire outside New York Courthouse amid Trump trial



Man sets Self on Fire outside New York Courthouse amid Trump trial

In a harrowing scene outside the New York courthouse where former President Donald Trump stood trial for his hush-money criminal case, a man set himself ablaze on Friday as jury selection concluded.

Despite the dramatic incident, officials stated that there was no indication the man was targeting Trump.

The horrifying spectacle unfolded in full view of television cameras stationed outside the courthouse, marking the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president. Witnesses recounted the distressing sight of the man burning for several minutes before being extinguished.

The man, identified as Max Azzarello from St. Augustine, Florida, reportedly pulled pamphlets from a backpack and scattered them before dousing himself in a liquid and igniting it. While some pamphlets referenced “evil billionaires,” there were no explicit mentions of Trump visible to witnesses.

Man sets himself on fire outside courthouse where Trump is on trial - ABC  News

Law enforcement officials, including the New York Police Department, indicated that Azzarello did not seem to be specifically targeting Trump or any other individuals associated with the trial. Tarik Sheppard, a deputy commissioner with the NYPD, labeled Azzarello as a “conspiracy theorist” based on preliminary investigations.

Online, a manifesto attributed to someone using Azzarello’s name surfaced, where the individual claimed responsibility for the self-immolation. The manifesto warned of an “apocalyptic fascist coup” and criticized various aspects of U.S. society but did not single out Trump.

Following the incident, a faint smell of smoke lingered in the plaza, and authorities discovered a smoldering backpack and a gas can nearby.

Despite the shocking turn of events, the downtown Manhattan courthouse, under heavy police guard, maintained its scheduled proceedings, with protests and spectator numbers dwindling since the trial’s commencement.

The incident occurred shortly after the completion of jury selection, clearing the path for prosecutors and defense attorneys to present opening statements in a case related to hush money payments made to a porn star. The court adjourned later in the afternoon, with attention turning to the investigation into the motives behind Azzarello’s drastic action.