Man Sets Himself Ablaze Outside Trump Trial, Leaves Online Manifesto

A man who set himself on fire outside Donald Trump’s Manhattan trial left behind an online manifesto warning of an “apocalyptic fascist world coup,” according to a document published on Substack.

Max Azzarello, identified by police as a 37-year-old from St. Augustine, Florida, remained in critical condition after the incident on Friday. In his online manifesto, Azzarello described his self-immolation as an “extreme act of protest” aimed at drawing attention to what he deemed an urgent revelation.

His manifesto, a rambling account, criticized cryptocurrency, New York University, the Clintons, and governments worldwide, likening their actions to a “totalitarian con” resembling a Ponzi scheme.

During a Friday press briefing, the NYPD detailed the events leading up to the incident. Azzarello removed pamphlets and an accelerant from his bag, doused himself, and set himself on fire around 1:35 p.m., collapsing onto a police barrier.

One of the pamphlets found with Azzarello read, “The true history of the world: haunted carnival edition. Our only goal is to replace our criminal government and replace it with one that serves all.” Another pamphlet claimed, “NYU is a mob front.”

Associates of Azzarello described him as increasingly unstable in recent years. His former landlord, Larry Altman, said Azzarello’s Facebook posts grew more unhinged, although Altman was surprised by the extreme nature of Azzarello’s actions.

A family friend acknowledged Azzarello’s struggles with mental illness but described him as intelligent and kind-hearted.

Azzarello’s LinkedIn profile indicated work on Rep. Ami Bera’s campaign in 2014. Bera expressed condolences to Azzarello’s family.

Azzarello’s social media posts hinted at conspiracy theories, including a recent Instagram story repeating “I love you” multiple times. His Facebook listed him as an “independent researcher” and linked to his Substack account, “The Ponzi Papers.”

Records show Azzarello had several encounters with law enforcement in St. Augustine, including arrests for damaging property and disorderly conduct.

In his Substack manifesto, Azzarello frequently referenced the Clintons, linking them to conspiracy theories involving Jeffrey Epstein and QAnon beliefs about a coordinated world order maintained by politicians.

The incident occurred near the Manhattan courthouse where Trump’s trial was taking place, but Trump has not commented on the incident.