Man Sets Himself On Fire Before Trump Trial

( – On a chaotic Friday afternoon in Manhattan, an alarming incident occurred outside the courthouse where the trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump was taking place. A man, later identified as Maxwell Azzarello from St Augustine, Florida, set himself on fire in a park across from the courthouse, captivating the attention of onlookers and media personnel on site.

The self-immolation happened during the fourth day of Trump’s high-profile trial, which centers on allegations that he falsified business records related to hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. This trial marks a historic moment as it is the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president in the nation’s history.

CNN anchor Laura Coates provided a live broadcast during the incident, describing the unsettling scene. “There is chaos that is happening,” Coates said. “I can smell the burning of the agent used.” She detailed how police officers and bystanders reacted swiftly, with officers removing their coats to try and smother the flames and people climbing over barricades to distance the crowd from the fiery scene.

Footage from the scene showed Azzarello, engulfed in flames, twitching on the concrete before a police officer hurried over with a fire extinguisher to douse the fire. Despite the immediate response, Azzarello was critically injured and later reported to be in a very severe condition. He had used an alcohol-based cleaning substance to ignite the fire.

Before setting himself alight, Azzarello was seen distributing pamphlets that some witnesses described as containing “conspiracy-theory-type” content. One pamphlet was titled “The True History of the World (Haunted Carnival Edition)” and purportedly included references to “evil billionaires.”

The motive behind Azzarello’s drastic action remains unclear, and it is not immediately evident whether his protest was directly linked to the ongoing Trump trial. However, the timing and location suggest a possible connection.

The trial itself has attracted global media attention, with reporters from various international outlets stationed at the courthouse. Emily Ngo, a reporter from Politico, described the scene of the fire as “very scary, active.” She noted on the social media platform X that although Azzarello was responsive when taken away, he was “very, very badly burned” with his body significantly charred.

As the trial of Donald Trump continues, the courtroom dynamics are just as intense. Jury selection, which concluded moments before the fire incident, involved rigorous vetting of potential jurors to ensure impartiality. The selected jury comprises a diverse group, including a sales professional, a software engineer, an English teacher, and multiple lawyers. The identities of these jurors are kept confidential, accessible only to the legal teams involved and the former president.

Security measures around the courthouse have been heightened, reflecting the trial’s high stakes and the potential for further disruptions.

As this unprecedented trial unfolds, the incident involving Maxwell Azzarello serves as a stark reminder of the heightened tensions and the deep divisions that still permeate the political landscape in the United States.