Man who set self on fire outside Trump trial ID’d as Max Azzarello, a self-described ‘investigative researcher’

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The man who lit himself on fire outside Manhattan court during former President Donald Trump’s “hush money” trial Friday has been identified by police as Max Azzarello, a Florida man who describes himself online as an “investigative researcher”.

Azzarello, 37, of St. Augustine, arrived in New York from the Sunshine State last week, and his family had been unaware he had travelled out of state, police said.

Moments before he doused himself in gasoline and set himself ablaze, Azzarello tossed a stack of pamphlets into the air, which included links to a Substack newsletter apparently authored by the self-immolator called “The Ponzi Papers”.

At the top of the site is an article with the headline “I have set myself on fire outside of the trump Trial”, followed by a rambling manifesto riddled with conspiracy theories on everything from cryptocurrency and Hollywood actors to Covid and former President Bill Clinton.

“My name is Max Azzarello, and I am an investigative researcher who has set himself on fire outside of the Trump trial in Manhattan,” the nearly 2700-word posting begins.

“This extreme act of protest is to draw attention to an urgent and important discovery: 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.”

Though public records show a St. Augustine, Florida address for Azzarello’s most recent known residence, sources tell The Post they believe he is homeless.

His LinkedIn profile picture features a picture with Bill Clinton, whom he sued last year in a conspiracy theory-tinged case with more than 100 other individuals which was later thrown out.

A 2017 blog post by the non-profit Strong Towns, which has since been taken offline, features Azzarello and announces him as their new growth manager.

In his blurb, Azzarello alludes to his “childhood town” as a “charming, friendly, eclectic community in Long Island, New York”.

The civic engagement-focused organisation says Azzarello’s “passions” include “chess, creative writing, and Medieval Scandinavian poetry”.

This article originally appeared on NY Post and was reproduced with permission

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