Man Sets Himself On Fire Outside Trump Trial: Live Updates


On Friday afternoon, an individual set themselves on fire in a small park across the street from the lower Manhattan courthouse where Donald Trump is on trial, according to eyewitnesses. Video recording the event showed police rushing over barricades set up for crowd control to extinguish the individual, who was seen twitching in the flames. Below are live updates on this developing story.

The man who set himself on fire was identified by law-enforcement sources in the press as Max Azzarello, 37, of St. Augustine, Florida. Approximately 5 minutes before the fire, a post was published to Substack by a man of the same name, saying he had set himself on fire outside the Trump trial. The manifesto states that he did so “to draw attention” to a conspiratorial set of beliefs that the U.S. government and world economy are near collapse and that cryptocurrency is a Ponzi scheme designed to help take it all down.

According to the FDNY, the man survived the fire and was transported to the burn center at New-York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he remains in critical condition.

Isabelle Brourman, a courtroom sketch artist, said she saw a man who wrapped himself in an American flag and light himself on fire in the park outside court. He didn’t say anything even as bystanders shouted for him to stop.

One eyewitness said he told her to stand back before he ignited himself:

Another court reporter adds a word of caution:

It’s not yet clear what the multicolored pamphlets say.

Judge Juan Merchan was wrapping up proceedings for the day and he announced a long lunch break. As that was happening, reporters started to see the news on social media and then everyone raced down to the street. Security was yelling “no running in the court house.” When reporters got outside, wind was blowing ash in the direction of the court. It smells horrific and feels still hot. Police officers are standing around frozen with shell-shocked looks.

It’s not yet clear who the person was or why they may have done this — or if they survived. The fire happened in Collect Pond Park, which is across the street from the courthouse. Please be warned, the video is graphic:

CNN was broadcasting live nearby, and when the cameras panned away from the graphic scene, reporter Laura Coates described what she was seeing live, instead:

She later described being overwhelmed what she saw:

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 for free, anonymous support and resources.

This post has been updated.

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