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Man dies after setting himself on fire outside Trump trial court

New York law enforcement and fire department personnel inspect the scene where a man lit himself on fire in a park outside Manhattan criminal court
New York law enforcement and fire department personnel inspect the scene where a man lit himself on fire in a park outside Manhattan criminal court Copyright Mary Altaffer/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Mary Altaffer/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Daniel HarperAP
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The man who set himself on fire outside Trump's trial court in New York has died, highlighting the intense emotions surrounding the case.

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Maxwell Azzarello succumbed to his injuries, the New York City Police Department stated on Saturday.

He had been pronounced dead at a nearby hospital in Collect Pond Park at around 1:30 p.m. on Friday.

Eyewitnesses reported that the man had distributed pamphlets promoting conspiracy theories before immolating himself with an accelerant.

“You can smell burning flesh,” Laura Coates, an anchor and CNN's chief legal analyst, said as she stood at the scene with reporter Evan Perez.

Law enforcement officers and bystanders rushed to aid the victim, who was initially hospitalised in critical condition. 

Despite efforts, the man succumbed to his injuries, marking a grim turn of events outside the high-profile trial.

The incident occurred amidst the ongoing trial of Donald Trump, who is facing allegations related to hush money payments and a subsequent cover-up scheme. 

The trial has garnered significant attention, with jurors recently finalised after rigorous questioning to ensure impartiality.

Trump's legal woes have intensified as the trial progresses, with his defence team attempting various legal manoeuvres, including appeals to delay proceedings. 

These efforts have been met with limited success, as the trial moves forward with opening statements slated to begin on Monday.

The trial has unfolded against a backdrop of political tension, with Trump's opponents seizing upon the trial as an opportunity to challenge his suitability for public office.

The park has served as a focal point for protests and gatherings throughout the trial and security protocols are now being scrutinised to see whether they need to be tightened.

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