Paramedics attend to a person who lit themself on fire

Paramedics attend to a person who lit themself on fire near Manhattan Criminal Court on April 19, 2024 in New York City.

(Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Person Self-Immolates Outside Courthouse of Trump's NY Trial

An unverified online manifesto identifies the person as "an investigative researcher" who has discovered that "our own government (along with many of their allies) is about to hit us with an apocalyptic fascist world coup."

This is a developing story... Please check back for possible updates...

Law enforcement officials confirmed to CNN that someone lit themself on fire Friday outside the New York City courthouse where former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, is on trial for allegedly falsifying business records.

"The man walked into the park across the street from the courthouse, throwing flyers into the air," the network reported, citing law enforcement. "He then pulled something out of a backpack—it was not immediately clear what the item was—and lit himself on fire."

Journalists were in the area for the historic trial and CNN anchor Laura Coates was among those who described the scene live on-air as New York Police Department officers and emergency responders worked to extinguish the fire.

Police were "slow to respond in part because of barricades around park," Politico's Emily Ngo explained, sharing photos and videos from the scene on social media. There is "only one way to get into park outside the courthouse without jumping the fence. It's been barricaded in anticipation of protests. And since there hasn't been much in the way of protests, police presence is light. Police had to run all the way around to get to the man."

The person who self-immolated "was responsive when he was removed but he is very, very badly burned. Body charred," Ngo said.

CNN reported that the flyers featured allegations of wrongdoings against New York University and said, "NYU is a mob front."

A self-identified citizen journalist named Jack shared on social media a photo of a booklet the person reportedly left in the dirt.

An unverified Substack post says in part: "My name is Max Azzarello, and I am an investigative researcher who has set himself on fire outside of the Trump trial in Manhattan. 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."

Inside Manhattan Criminal Court, the remaining jurors were sworn in for Trump's case, in which he faces 34 charges for records related to alleged hush money payments to cover up sex scandals during the 2016 election cycle. There are 12 jurors and six alternates.

The former president was indicted by a New York grand jury last spring. He also faces two federal criminal cases—one related to his handling of classified material and another for trying to overturn his 2020 loss, which culminated in the January 6, 2021 insurrection—as well as an election interference case in Georgia.

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