Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Trial Courthouse
Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Trial Courthouse

By Tom Ozimek

A man set himself on fire across the street from a Manhattan courthouse just minutes after the full jury was selected in former President Donald Trump’s criminal trial that alleges falsification of business records.

New York Police Department (NYPD) said at a press conference that the individual has been identified as Max Azzarello and that he walked into a park across the street from the trial, poured some kind of flammable material on himself, and set himself on fire.

Mr. Azzarello was later rushed to the hospital, where he remains in critical condition, police added.

The dramatic incident was captured on video, which shows what appears to be a backpack, a can of gas, and a man kneeling and holding his head with his hands as a raging fire engulfs him.

Several people can be heard screaming in the background, while an unidentified witness calls for someone to bring a fire extinguisher. The blaze continues to rage for about half a minute with the figure then seen falling backwards.

Moments later a group of people, including several police officers, are seen running up to the burning man. The first person to arrive on the scene attempts to put out the fire with what looks to be a suit jacket before retreating, possibly due to the intensity of the flames. Soon after, someone arrives with a fire extinguisher and begins to douse the burning man, putting the flames out.

Other video footage has emerged showing emergency responders rushing the visibly severely injured man to an ambulance on a stretcher.

A photograph shared on social media by Viral News NYC showed what appears to be an investigator on the scene holding a sign purportedly associated with the man who set himself on fire.

It reads: “Trump is with Biden and they’re about to fascist coup us.” The Epoch Times has been unable to confirm the authenticity of the sign.

Online Manifesto?

The individual may have left an online manifesto. While The Epoch Times has been unable to verify its authenticity, a document was published earlier on Friday on Substack titled, “I have set myself on fire outside the Trump Trial.” It features language similar in tone to that on the sign.

“My name is Max Azzarello, and I am an investigative researcher who has set himself on fire outside of the Trump trial in Manhattan,” the apparent manifesto reads.

“This extreme act of protest is to draw attention to an urgent and important discovery: We are victims of a totalitarian con, and our own government (along with many of their allies) is about to hit us with an apocalyptic fascist world coup. These claims sound like fantastical conspiracy theory, but they are not,” it goes on to say.

There are a number of other posts by the author that are similar in tone, including one that shows screenshots of a flyer that seems to match photos of one taken at the scene of the self-immolation.

The booklet contains references to various conspiracy theories and features statements that match the tone of the apparent manifesto and the sign. “After spinning us in circles and dazzling us with lies for so long, our own government is about to hit us with an apocalyptic fascist coup nearly a century in the making,” the flyer reads.

Police confirmed at the press conference that, before he set himself on fire, Mr. Azzarello pulled out some pamphlets that NYPD described as propaganda-based, “almost like a conspiracy theory type pamphlet.”

“Some information in regards to ponzi schemes, and the fact that some of our local educational institutions are fronts for the mob,” one of the investigators said at the presser.

“So a little bit of a conspiracy theory going on here,” he added.

The man’s family has been notified, police said, adding that the incident remains under investigation.

Police said that they’re reviewing security protocols in the wake of the incident, although they said Mr. Azzarello didn’t breach any security protocols as the park where he set himself on fire was open to the public.

While no further details about the incident were immediately available, the act of setting oneself on fire in protest, or self-immolation, is a rare occurrence in the United States, with some three dozen cases since the 1960s.

There were two recent deadly incidents, one in 2016 and another in 2018, which involved military veterans with apparent grievances against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

In a more recent case, Aaron Bushnell, a 25-year-old member of the U.S. Air Force, self-immolated in protest against Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip that followed the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas.

The location where Mr. Azzarello set himself on fire on April 19 is across the street from the courthouse where President Trump faces a criminal trial, in which he has pleaded not guilty and which he has called a politically-motivated “witch hunt.”

The case centers on allegations that the former president falsified business records to hide payments made as part of a bid to kill negative news stories ahead of the 2016 election.

USNN World News (USNN) USNN World News Corporation is a media company consisting of a series of sites specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information, local,...