Man 'who cared about the world' dies after setting himself on fire outside Trump trial

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  • A Florida man died after setting himself on fire outside Trump's trial in Manhattan.

  • Max Azzarello was motivated by a web of conspiracy theories and paranoia, reports say.

  • Azzarello was described as a caring individual with a passion for social justice.

Max Azzarello, a 37-year-old from Florida, died after setting himself on fire outside the Manhattan courthouse where Trump's hush money trial is underway, The New York Times reports.

Azzarello succumbed to his injuries on Friday night. Emergency responders received a 911 call at 1:37 p.m, and paramedics rushed the man to a local hospital in critical condition, a New York Police Department spokesperson told Business Insider, where he later died, BBC News reported.

Despite the proximity to Trump's trial, his actions did not appear to align with any specific political agenda but rather stemmed from a web of conspiracy theories and paranoia, per The Times.

Azzarello walked into the center of Collect Pond Park, across from the courthouse. He threw conspiracy pamphlets into the air before pouring an accelerant onto himself and self-immolating, USA Today reports.

The pamphlets were titled "The True History of the World" and linked to a Substack post that reads, "I am an investigative researcher who has set himself on fire outside of the Trump trial in Manhattan."

The post includes conspiratorial ideas about the US government.

"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.

When Azzarello lost his mother in 2022, grief consumed him, leading to increasingly erratic behavior, friends told The Times.

Steven Waldman, a high school friend of Azzarello, told The Times his late friend was "heartbroken" when his mother passed."

"That was around the time when he became more outspoken," Waldman said.

Azzarello was described as a caring individual with a penchant for social justice, having pursued degrees in anthropology and public policy.

"He was super curious about social justice and the way things 'could' be," a former classmate of Azzarello told The Times.

"He was a good friend and person and cared about the world," said Waldman.

Larry Altman, the property manager at Azzarello's apartment building, called Azzarello an "extremely nice person."

Azzarello's career trajectory led him through various fields, including marketing and technology, with a brief stint in political campaign work, according to his LinkedIn.

"We've got a secret fascism problem," his bio reads beneath his profile picture, snapped alongside former US president Bill Clinton.

Larry Altman told the Times that Azzarello "had political views that I would not consider mainstream. He called our government and the world government a Ponzi scheme."

Self-immolation is mostly carried out as a form of protest for religious or political reasons.

In February of this year, 25-year-old Aaron Bushnell died after setting himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC.

Azzarello commended Bushnell for his final act of protest, posting "Heroes and martyrs, folks," on his Instagram page, Newsweek reports.

Trump's historic hush money trial kicks off

A court sketch shows Donald Trump sitting in court alongside Emil Bove.
Donald Trump at the defense table in his Manhattan hush money trial with attorney Emil Bove.Reuters/Jane Rosenberg

Trump's hush money trial, making history as the first-ever trial of a former president, kicked off earlier this week with the selection of the jury.

The trial resumed Friday afternoon with a pre-opening hearing.

The former US president, vying for reelection in 2024, has promised to testify at the trial.

The indictment alleges 34 Trump Organization business records were falsified, including hiding a hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Read the original article on Business Insider