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Man dies after setting himself on fire outside Trump trial (GRAPHIC VIDEOS)

The deceased was identified by police as Max Azzarello, a self-proclaimed “investigative researcher” from Florida

Max Azzarello protests outside of the Manhattan courthouse where former US President Donald Trump’s ‘hush money’ trial is underway in New York City, April 18, 2024. © Getty Images / David Dee Delgado

A man who set himself on fire outside the New York City courthouse where former US President Donald Trump is being tried ended up dying of severe burns late on Friday, local media reported, citing the New York Police Department (NYPD). The man was identified as 37-year-old Max Azzarello from St. Augustine, Florida.

The disturbing incident occurred on Friday afternoon, the fourth day of the trial in which Trump is defending himself against charges of illegally covering up so-called ‘hush-money’ payments to a porn star. Azzarello reportedly approached a group of Trump supporters gathered outside the courthouse and distributed pamphlets espousing conspiracy theories. He then doused himself in flammable liquid and set himself ablaze.

The fire reportedly lasted around three minutes before being put out. Azzarello was then taken to a nearby hospital and was reportedly in critical condition upon arrival and died hours later. Four police officers reportedly sustained minor injuries from their exposure to the fire and were also hospitalized. Police said a bomb squad unit was deployed to search the area as a precaution.

Azzarello’s motives for the self-immolation are being investigated. NYPD deputy commissioner Tarik Sheppard said he did not appear to be targeting Trump specifically or anyone else involved in the trial.

“Right now we are labelling him as sort of a conspiracy theorist, and we are going from there,” he stated at a press briefing.

The pamphlets distributed by Azzarello included a link to a Substack account on which he identified himself as “an investigative researcher.” A manifesto allegedly written by Azzarello and posted on the website The Ponzi Papers said that his “extreme act of protest” was intended to draw attention to an “apocalyptic fascist world coup” being prepared by the US government and its allies.

READ MORE:
Jury selection begins in Trump hush-money trial

According to the New York Post, citing police records, Azzarello had previously been arrested three times on charges that included criminal mischief and disturbing the peace. Police documents from his latest arrest in August of last year indicated that Azzarello was suicidal.

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