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Horrifying moment as man sets himself ablaze outside Trump trial

Horrifying scenes unfolded outside Donald Trump's hush money trial on Friday after a man set himself on fire in an act of extreme political protest.

Maxwell Azzarello, 37, doused himself in an alcohol substance before taking a lighter to his clothes near Manhattan criminal court, MailOnline reports.

He was seen kneeling with his hands behind his head engulfed in flames as the world’s media and horrified onlookers watched.

NYPD officers rushed to extinguish the flames. He was taken away in a gurney and remains in the hospital in critical condition.

He was seen throwing pamphlets in the air moments before he set himself ablaze. It remains unclear if the protest was in support of or against the former president, who is currently on trial for hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels.

A Substack penned by Azzarello states he is an ‘investigative researcher’. A post published moments before the horrifying incident, reads: ‘I have set myself on fire outside the Trump Trial.’

The Substack is a rambling anti-establishment diatribe which claims the world is the victim of a ‘totalitarian con’. He also warns of a ‘an apocalyptic fascist world coup’.

On the Florida-native’s LinkedIn profile, where he seemingly appears in a photo with Bill Clinton, Azzarello wrote: ‘We’ve got a secret fascism problem.’

His profile claims he has been self-employed since March of 2023. He was arrested twice last year for disturbing the peace in Florida.

‘I’ve never seen something like that in my life,’ eyewitness Charles Udoaka told

‘I was crossing the park and saw a fire and then it just ignited. People were screaming and trying to use a fire extinguisher to put the fire out.’

‘It was completely out of the blue,’ Kennedy Mack, who was visiting from South Carolina said.

He started throwing brochures around and then poured gasoline on himself, two or three gallons.

‘He took out a match or lighter and set himself completely on fire. He kneeled down as if he was praising somebody. He didn’t say anything.

Witnesses described how the man began throwing political flyers prior to dousing himself. It is unclear if these pamphlets pictured belonged to him.

‘It was awful why would anyone do that to themselves. I wish we never came this way now.’

CNN’s Laura Coates was live on air narrating the chaos as it unfolded.

‘I see a totally charred human being,’ Coates said.

Fred Gates from Astoria, was in Collect Pond Park a short distance away at the time.

‘I saw him take a backpack off pull out two cans of gasoline and proceed to take one can and pour it over himself on both sides. I was yelling for police to come in,’ he said.

‘People started to run away, I included. I got half way from the park and that’s when he went. He threw a bunch of fliers in the air.

‘He had nothing on his t-shirt. He seemed very calm, quiet and didn’t say anything. I was very close to him It became apparent it may be some a dangerous situation and we all ran away from him.

‘I first thought it was fake, he was doing some kind of protest where he would use fake gasoline. I didn’t think it was real.

‘It seemed like he was burning for 5 minutes. There was no help. Everybody was screaming and watching this.’

Prevail Inegbenose

Prevail Inegbenose is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Spark Media & Entertainment Ventures, the Publisher of Spark News Daily - Nigeria's most sought-after online newspaper in Government, Politics, Sport, Entertainment and Religion. Prevail Inegbenose studied Mass Communication from the prestigious Auchi Polytechnic Auchi and graduated in 2007. He is an experienced journalist with 16 years of active and practical journalism. Prevail Inegbenose is the Lead Pastor, House of God Int'l - Rest Tabernacle, Abuja - Nigeria. Tel: 08039564796.

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