Donald Trump trial: man who tried to set himself on fire in court in New York dies

The man who attempted to set himself on fire on Friday around 1:30 p

Donald Trump trial: man who tried to set himself on fire in court in New York dies

The man who attempted to set himself on fire on Friday around 1:30 p.m. local time (7:30 p.m. Paris time) in front of the Manhattan court where Donald Trump was appearing has died, it was announced on Saturday 20 April several American media. The reasons for this act are currently unknown. Authorities identified the victim as Maxwell Azzarello, a man approximately 37 years old from St. Augustine, Florida. According to the New York Police Department, he was in hospital “in critical condition.”

During a press conference more than an hour after the tragedy, New York Police Chief Jeffrey Maddrey said that the man "entered the center of the park" Collect Pond, located opposite the courthouse where the trial of the former Republican president is taking place, before opening a “book bag” and taking out “colored leaflets”, which he threw in the park, then “a can ” filled with what police believe “to be a flame accelerant.”

The images, broadcast by American channels and on social networks, are impressive. With both hands behind his head, he then transformed himself into a living torch, towards which police officers rushed. After long seconds of burning, his body collapsed to the ground, before a fire extinguisher was used to put out the blaze. The man, “seriously burned”, was then transported on a stretcher by emergency services.

Writings that “are conspiracy theories”

According to several American media outlets, including the Reuters and Bloomberg news agencies, the leaflets he left at the scene referred to “evil billionaires” and called for people to “denounce this corruption.” “For now, we label him a conspiracy theorist and we go from there,” Tarik Sheppard, deputy commissioner of the New York Police Department, said at a news conference. According to another police official, Joseph Kenny, these writings “are conspiracy theories, there is information about Ponzi-type schemes, and the fact that some of our schools are fronts for the mafia ".

At the scene of the fire, clothes were still burning slowly on the ground and a strong smell was still emanating a few minutes later, noted an Agence France-Presse journalist present on site. A witness to the scene, who gave his name as Dave, 73, said he saw the man throw writings in the air before opening a container, dumping the contents on him and to set the fire using a lighter. According to police, the man arrived in New York a few days ago.

The park, where the man attempted to set himself on fire, has already been occupied, since the trial opened on Monday, by a few dozen pro or anti-Trump demonstrators, but without any notable incident since. The court is the subject of increased surveillance due to the almost daily presence of the former American president. The police assured that they would review security protocols. But “this man did not violate security protocols,” emphasized police officer Jeffrey Maddrey. “The park was open to the public,” he added.

Full jury at Donald Trump trial

This drama outside the court took place around the time when Judge Juan Merchan, who presided over the proceedings, proclaimed that the full jury had been selected to judge Donald Trump, that is to say twelve regulars and six alternates. But he did not disrupt the progress of the historic trial. Around 3 p.m. local time (9 p.m. in Paris), the hearing resumed and the former President of the United States did not make any comments upon his return to the courtroom.

The first former US president to appear in a criminal trial, Donald Trump is on trial in a case of hidden payments to buy the silence of a former porn star, Stormy Daniels, a few days before the 2016 election which he won on the wire against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

The former President of the United States (2017-2021), candidate for his return to the White House, arrived at the Manhattan court on Friday morning for a fourth day of hearing, protesting once again against “a rigged trial” which prevents him from campaigning. He also targeted Judge Juan Merchan, the “worst there is,” for forbidding him from attacking witnesses or jurors, an attack according to Donald Trump on “his constitutional right to express himself” freely.