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Individual Sets Himself Ablaze Outside Courthouse Hosting Trump Trial

Max Azzarello (Credits: Newsweek)

A 37-year-old man, Max Azzarello, set himself on fire outside the Manhattan courthouse where former President Trump’s first criminal trial is taking place, according to police.

Azzarello, who traveled from Florida to New York earlier this week, walked into a park outside the courthouse, threw conspiratorial pamphlets in the air, poured an accelerant on himself, and set himself on fire. The incident occurred during ongoing protests outside the courthouse and drew a heavy emergency response, with ambulances lining the block.

Police labeled Azzarello a “conspiracy theorist” and stated that the incident was not intended to target any individual or group, including Trump or the protestors. Azzarello’s social media accounts, reviewed by The Hill, revealed his espousal of conspiracy theories about the US government and prominent individuals. Police acknowledged the social media posts and said the accounts will be “scrubbed.”

Horrified witnesses yelled for help as Max Azzarello set himself on fire (Credits: New York Post)

Azzarello is in critical condition but alive and intubated, while three NYPD officers and one court officer sustained minor injuries from the fire. Videos on social media showed individuals attempting to put out the fire, including one person using a suit jacket and another with a fire extinguisher.

A witness described the incident, stating that Azzarello made political statements before pouring a flammable liquid on himself and setting himself on fire. The incident occurred as the jury selection process concluded, with 12 primary jurors and six alternates seated. The trial can now move forward with opening remarks on Monday.

Police expressed concern about the incident’s proximity to the trial and intend to review their security protocols despite Azzarello not breaching security. A bomb squad swept the area around the courthouse and found nothing.

Max Azzarello (Credits: The Sun)

Local police are working with the Secret Service to ensure ample security, considering measures like shutting down the park. The jury selection process lasted four days, with some prospective jurors expressing anxiety about serving on the high-profile panel due to media attention.

Before the trial proceeds, Trump’s lawyers will discuss his possible testimony at a hearing, where the judge will determine which topics prosecutors can cross-examine him about if he takes the stand. Trump is accused of falsifying business records related to a hush money deal with an adult film actress ahead of the 2016 election and has pleaded not guilty.

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