Man Appears to Set Himself on Fire Outside Trump Trial (UPDATE)

The man, identified as Max Azzarello, has reportedly died after succumbing to his injuries.

Person walking in a navy suit with a tie, in a well-lit indoor area
Image via Getty/Curtis Means - Pool
Person walking in a navy suit with a tie, in a well-lit indoor area

Content warning: This article contains graphic footage.

UPDATED, April 20, 2024, 11:15 a.m. ET: Max Azzarello, the man who self-immolated outside the New York courthouse where Trump's criminal trial is being held, has reportedly died. According to CBS News, after Azzarello was engulfed in flames for three minutes on Friday, he was rushed to New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he was in critical condition and incubated. On Saturday, Azzarello succumbed to his injuries.

UPDATED, 5:00 p.m. ET: The man who self-immolated outside the New York courthouse Trump's trial is being held at has since been identified, and his political manifesto has surfaced.

The man has been identified as Max Azzarello, who is alive at a nearby hospital but remains in critical condition. His bizarre manifesto, published on his 'Ponzi Papers' Substack, announced his plan to set himself on fire outside of the Trump trial.

"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," reads the post, which does not outline his explicit political beliefs but leans heavily towards libertarianism. In the post, he goes on to outline several conspiracies, which detail his beliefs on Peter Thiel, cryptocurrency, and many alleged Ponzi schemes.

The manifesto also name-drops the Clintons and Trump associates Josh Kushner and Anthony Scaramucci. "Bill Clinton was secretly on (former CIA Director) George H.W. Bush’s side, and that the Democrat vs. Republican division has been entirely manufactured ever since: Clinton is with Bush; Gore is with Bush; Trump is with Hillary, and so on," it reads.

Another bizarre portion accuses legendary director Stanley Kubrick of being a "cocky secret fascist" for his political satire, Dr. Strangelove: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Other targets of his ire include the Manson Family murders, Walt Disney, The Beatles, George Orwell, Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing, and Simpsons creator Matt Groening. He also wrote that he filed a federal lawsuit against what he calls "dozens of perpetrators of the cryptocurrency Ponzi."

Read the full thing here.

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A man seemingly set himself on fire outside the New York courthouse where Donald Trump’s trial is set to begin on Friday.

In a live CNN report about the full jury panel being selected for the former POTUS’ criminal trial, reporter Laura Coates was first heard interjecting in a segment about what was first thought to be a possible active shooter situation. However, she quickly corrected her observation, noting that there was instead a man engulfed in flames nearby. Coates' live reporting, notably, was swiftly and roundly praised.

Photos distributed through Getty showed the man, who had not been identified as of this writing, being carried away on a stretcher outside Manhattan Criminal Court. His condition, as well as the intention of this apparently intentional act, was not immediately known.

Politico's Emily Ngo also shared graphic video from the scene. See more below.

A man just lit himself on fire outside the courthouse where Trump’s trial is underway.

— Lori 🇺🇸🐝🌻🇺🇦 (@LoriCKW) April 19, 2024

I’m gonna be honest.

There are probably 5 people on earth who could’ve reported this incident so succinctly and unexpectedly in real time.

Laura Coates is apparently one of

— Renee (@PettyLupone) April 19, 2024

!! A person just self-immolated outside Manhattan court, where Trump trial underway. Police slow to respond in part because of barricades around park

— Emily Ngo (@emilyngo) April 19, 2024

Complex's request for comment from the NYPD was not immediately answered; however, the department confirmed that a press conference was forthcoming and would be streamed live on its Twitter account.

Friday's apparent self-immolation comes just two months after an active-duty member of the United States Air Force, later identified as Aaron Bushnell in footage shared by reporter Talia Jane, died after setting himself on fire in front of the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C. As flames covered his body, Bushnell could be heard shouting "Free Palestine!" multiple times. Moments before the protest, Bushnell said that he would "no longer be complicit in genocide," stating that his final act was one of "extreme" protest.

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