Tragedy as conspiracy theorist Max Azzarello DIES just hours after setting himself on fire while protesting outside Trump’s hush money case in New York City

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Protester Max Azzarello has died after setting himself ablaze in Manhattan Friday
  • The 37-year-old doused himself in accelerant before igniting himself with a light
  • Flames engulfed the conspiracy theorist, who has now succumbed to his injuries

The man who set himself on fire outside Trump’s hush money trial in New York has died from his injuries.

Max Azzarello, a 37-year-old from St. Augustine, Florida, died Friday night hours after the display, said to be ‘an ‘extreme act of protest…[against] a totalitarian con, and our own government’ on the conspiracy theorist’s own Substack.

He was rushed to a nearby hospital’s burn unit where died just before 11 pm, sources familiar with the matter said.

Meanwhile, a series of social media posts – including some about Taylor Swift – offer insight into the protester’s unstable state of mind just before the display.

He was seen throwing a stack of pamphlets that included a link to a conspiracy-laden Substack seconds before dousing himself in accelerant and igniting himself with a lighter in front of dozens of horrified witnesses.

Max Azzarello – the man who set himself on fire outside Trump’s hush money trial in New York Friday – has reportedly died from his injuries

The revelation comes hours after he doused himself in accelerant outside the courthouse before going up in flames

The revelation comes hours after he doused himself in accelerant outside the courthouse before going up in flames 

‘This extreme act of protest is to draw attention to an urgent and important discovery,’ Azzarello wrote in part of his online manifesto, billed as The Ponzi Papers.  

‘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.’

He went on to write how this regime ‘is about to hit us with an apocalyptic facist world coup,’ just months after a series of arrests in his home state for incidents that took place in August, including hurling a drink at a photo of Bill Clinton.

Oddly, the alleged research investigator is seen smiling in an undated photo with the Democrat seen on his still-up LinkedIn, where he wrote, ‘we have a secret facist problem.’

The man, meanwhile, was also spotted outside the courthouse both Thursday and Friday, where he reportedly told The New York Times, ‘Trump’s in on it.’

Again framing himself as a ‘research investigator’, Azzarello told the paper his beliefs were influenced by research he had carried out into Peter Thiel, the venture capitalist whose seed money helped firms like PayPal and Facebook.

Photographed holding a sign that read ‘Trump is with Biden and they’re about to facist coup us‘, he said at the time. ‘It’s a secret kleptocracy, and it can only lead to an apocalyptic fascist coup.’

The day before, he reportedly held a sign critical of New York University before heading to the courthouse, and handed out literature on the subject.  

Azzarello, a 37-year-old from St. Augustine, Florida , is seen holding a sign a outside the Manhattan criminal courthouse on April 18 - a day before the disaster

Azzarello, a 37-year-old from St. Augustine, Florida , is seen holding a sign a outside the Manhattan criminal courthouse on April 18 – a day before the disaster

On his LinkedIn profile, a younger Azzarello appears in a photo with Bill Clinton - a figure of fascination for him in recent years, posts on social media show. In an accompanying cation to his bio, the suspected conspiracy theorist writes, 'We've got a secret fascism problem'

On his LinkedIn profile, a younger Azzarello appears in a photo with Bill Clinton – a figure of fascination for him in recent years, posts on social media show. In an accompanying cation to his bio, the suspected conspiracy theorist writes, ‘We’ve got a secret fascism problem’

Azarello, seen here in a August 24, 2023, mugshot, had recently completed 180 days probation for a string of incidents over disorderly conduct and destruction of property in Florida, where cops and members of the public cited his erratic and 'rambling' behavior

Azarello, seen here in a August 24, 2023, mugshot, had recently completed 180 days probation for a string of incidents over disorderly conduct and destruction of property in Florida, where cops and members of the public cited his erratic and ‘rambling’ behavior

Azzarello was arrested twice last year in Florida

Both arrests were for breach of the peace

Azzarello was arrested several time last year in the Sunshine State for breach of the peace. Friends have said the once-stable Florida resident became unhinged after the death of his mother two years ago, sending him on a descent chronicled in countless social media posts

Fliers spotted at the scene of the self-immolation shortly after it occurred. It has not been confirmed if they belong to the victim

Fliers spotted at the scene of the self-immolation shortly after it occurred. It has not been confirmed if they belong to the victim

The pamphlets found at the scene link to a Substack curated by the self-described 'investigative researcher'

The pamphlets found at the scene link to a Substack curated by the self-described ‘investigative researcher’

The tragedy unfolded while former president Trump (pictured on Friday morning) was inside the courthouse

The tragedy unfolded while former president Trump (pictured on Friday morning) was inside the courthouse 

Friends of the misguided protester, meanwhile, told The New York Times he recently went off the deep end after the death of his mother Elizabeth Azzarello, who died on April 6, 2022, near Sea Cliff on Long Island after a bout with pulmonary disease.

After this loss, his friends in St Augustine said they saw a change – one that culminated with Azzarello secretly traveling to New York City at some point this year, without his family’s knowledge or blessing..

He would go on to set himself on fire as Trump’s criminal trial finished its fourth day, as he faces allegations he falsified business records related to payments made to an ex-porn star despite the display.

The GOP frontrunner was indicted last April.

As proceedings were unfolding, the self-employed ‘investigative researcher’ suddenly tossed a stack of pamphlets into the air that included links to his manifesto, seconds before suddenly setting himself ablaze.

After the self-immolation, cops descended on the area just before 2pm, after which he was brought to a nearby hospital’s burn unit. He died shortly before 11 pm, sources familiar with the matter told The New York Post. 

'Trump's in on it,' Azzarello reportedly told the Times on Thursday, saying his beliefs were influenced by research he had carried out into Peter Thiel, the venture capitalist behind companies like PayPal and Facebook

‘Trump’s in on it,’ Azzarello reportedly told the Times on Thursday, saying his beliefs were influenced by research he had carried out into Peter Thiel, the venture capitalist behind companies like PayPal and Facebook

'It's a secret kleptocracy, and it can only lead to an apocalyptic fascist coup,' the anti-establishment conspiracy theorist said

‘It’s a secret kleptocracy, and it can only lead to an apocalyptic fascist coup,’ the anti-establishment conspiracy theorist said

In an article authored hours before he spewed unfounded theories about the ‘elites’, COVID, and Clinton, who appears to have been a source of fascination for him in particular. 

The post bore the startling succinct headline: ‘I have set myself on fire outside of the Trump Trial’,

DailyMail.com gained insight into that interest after learning the activist just week ago completed a six month probation sentence – handed out following a string of incidents in The Sunshine State involving either disorderly conduct, destruction of property, and overall erratic, ‘rambling’ behavior.

DailyMail.com obtained criminal complaints for each, which all place within a matter of days in August.

In the first of three, cops wrote how Azzarello threw a glass of wine at a framed and autographed photograph of President Clinton displayed in the lobby of the Casa Monica Hotel in his hometown of Saint Augustine the evening of August 19, 2023,

The complaint, which lists him as unemployed, notes the incident took place as Azzarello had just finished dinner at the hotel restaurant.

He went on to launch the glass at the image, breaking the glass on the framed photograph and damaging it with wine in the process.

Then, two days later, Azzarello was arrested again at the Case Monica, after he was reported for ‘standing outside, stripping his clothes off and yelling at customers.’

DailyMail.com has obtained three criminal complaints of the incidents - all of which took place in August last year

DailyMail.com has obtained three criminal complaints of the incidents – all of which took place in August last year

In one, officers wrote how Azzarello, 37, threw a glass of wine at a framed and autographed photograph of Bill Clinton displayed in the lobby of the Casa Monica Hotel in his hometown of Saint Augustine, Florida, on August 19 of this past year. He is listed as unemployed

In one, officers wrote how Azzarello, 37, threw a glass of wine at a framed and autographed photograph of Bill Clinton displayed in the lobby of the Casa Monica Hotel in his hometown of Saint Augustine, Florida, on August 19 of this past year. He is listed as unemployed

When cops arrived, they noted how the suspect was ‘wearing nothing but his underwear, standing on the sidewalk[, and] holing [sic] a speaker blasting music and yelling’, officers wrote eight months ago.

The hotel manager, meanwhile, was said to have told officers that customers were ‘scared for their safety’, and that many were unable to enter or exit for fear of being caught up in the then-suspect’s episode.

On August 24, he was arrested once more for graffitiing property and rifling through a woman’s belongings in the flatbed of her truck, after allegedly being seen yelling in someone’s yards after ‘misinterpreting’ an exterminator’s sign warning people to keep their children and pets off a lawn that had just been treated.

Cops, at the time, wrote how the conspiracy theorist was convinced the pest control company was ‘there to exterminate children and dogs’, as all the events occurred within walking distance of Azzarello’s apartment.

In a discovery that provided more insight into the man behind the incident, DailyMail.com found Azzarello had posted to Facebook earlier that month, this time to tell his friends that he had just spent three days in a psych ward.

‘I was handcuffed, shoved, and put into a psych ward,’ he wrote in the update, in which he described how cops suddenly showed up at his St Augustine pad necause he had tipped a Starbucks barista $200 and wrote ‘Go F*** Yourself’ on the receipt.

‘I was given no information about why I was there until after my discharge,’ he said, as another post a few weeks later indicated her served jail time for the alleged stunt.

Witnesses described the incident as a 'political protest' although it was not clear what side he was on

Witnesses described the incident as a ‘political protest’ although it was not clear what side he was on

As of 2.20pm police described the individual as in a 'critical' condition

As of 2.20pm police described the individual as in a ‘critical’ condition

New York City police officers inspect the scene where a man lit himself on fire in a park outside Manhattan criminal court

New York City police officers inspect the scene where a man lit himself on fire in a park outside Manhattan criminal court

White fire extinguisher residue marks the spot where the incident took place in Collect Pond Park

White fire extinguisher residue marks the spot where the incident took place in Collect Pond Park

Less than three months later, a suit he filed against Clinton and 100 other influential figures was tossed when he failed to follow up with required court filings, after claiming Mark Cuban, Richard Branson, the country of Saudi Arabia, and more were carrying ‘an elaborate network of Ponzi schemes’ dating back to the 1990s and continuing through 2023.

Other defendants named in the 2023 suit included 1992 Independent presidential candidate Ross Perot, who died in 2019.  The case – filed by Azzarello without a lawyer – was tossed this past October.

Then, in an Instagram story posted a little over nine weeks ago, Azzarello shared a picture of Taylor Swift donned in Super Woman apparel.

He wrote in the caption: ‘Super Bowl LVII Forecast: 100% chance of broflakes melting down and whining across the nation.’  

Azzarello wrote: ‘Why are we all so divided? Because the people who stole the American Dream are shouting ‘You’re divided! You’re divided!’ in all directions.’

In another post from this time period, Azzarello appeared to show support for the Eras performer, commenting on a photo of her flashing the peace sign while delivering a commencement speech at New York University.

 ‘Still her best picture,’ Azzarello wrote over the May 2022 image, held in front of the same school would go on to slam two months later days before setting himself ablaze.

‘NYU is a mob front’, the headline of literature being passed around by the activist in Lower Manhattan not far from the courthouse Wednesday read.

in an Instagram story posted a little over nine weeks ago, Azzarello shared a picture of Taylor Swift donned in Super Woman apparel.

in an Instagram story posted a little over nine weeks ago, Azzarello shared a picture of Taylor Swift donned in Super Woman apparel.

More posts from the period provide insight into other objects of the suspect's obsessions

More posts from the period provide insight into other objects of the suspect’s obsessions

They also show a seemingly unstable state of mind at work in the weeks leading up to the display

They also show a seemingly unstable state of mind at work in the weeks leading up to the display

He appears to have some dissatisfaction with the US government, painting it as a so-called cult

He appears to have some dissatisfaction with the US government, painting it as a so-called cult

'Still her best picture,' Azzarello wrote over the May 2022 image, held in front of the same school would go on to slam two months later days before setting himself ablaze.

‘Still her best picture,’ Azzarello wrote over the May 2022 image, held in front of the same school would go on to slam two months later days before setting himself ablaze. 

An accompanying tagline added that the pamphlet was ‘a brief guide to[the school’s] most criminal secrets.’

Reporters with the Times, meanwhile, confirmed the suspect was holding a sign on Wednesday critical of the school at Washington Square Park Wednesday, before moving on Thursday to the park where the incident occurred.  A link to his Ponzi Papers Substack was provided.

On Wednesday, he also posted an Instagram highlight saying he would be ‘spending the week at Washington Square Park airing out all of NYU’s dirty laundry’, a day before a final Instagram story just minutes before the blaze. 

‘I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you,’ it read. 

At 1:37 pm, law enforcement responded to calls reporting the fire, before rushing Azzarello to a city hospital where he is said to be in critical condition. 

The New York Police Department said an investigation is ongoing, as other recent social media posts show how Azzarello recently praised ‘martyrs’ like the former U.S. military member who also lit himself on fire, but died during protest.   

'NYU is a mob front', the headline of literature being passed around by the activist in Lower Manhattan not far from the courthouse Wednesday read.

‘NYU is a mob front’, the headline of literature being passed around by the activist in Lower Manhattan not far from the courthouse Wednesday read.

An accompanying tagline added that the pamphlet was 'a brief guide to[the school's] most criminal secrets.

An accompanying tagline added that the pamphlet was ‘a brief guide to[the school’s] most criminal secrets.

On Wednesday, he also posted an Instagram highlight saying he would be 'spending the week at Washington Square Park airing out all of NYU's dirty laundry', a day before a final Instagram story just minutes before the blaze.

On Wednesday, he also posted an Instagram highlight saying he would be ‘spending the week at Washington Square Park airing out all of NYU’s dirty laundry’, a day before a final Instagram story just minutes before the blaze.

'I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you,' it read

‘I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you,’ it read 

At  1:37 pm, law enforcement responded to the fire, before bringing Azzarello to a city hospital where he is said to be in critical condition. The New York Police Department said an investigation is ongoing

At  1:37 pm, law enforcement responded to the fire, before bringing Azzarello to a city hospital where he is said to be in critical condition. The New York Police Department said an investigation is ongoing

‘Heroes and martyrs, folks,’ Azzarello posted on his Instagram after the February death of US Air Force Active Duty Member Aaron Bushnell, adding ‘God f****** bless you, Aaron Bushnell.’

Bushnell, 25, died after self immolating outside the Israeli Embassy this past February in Washington, D.C., in protest of Israel’s war in Gaza.

‘My name is Aaron Bushnell, I am an active-duty member of the United States Air Force and I will no longer be complicit in genocide,’ Bushnell is heard saying in video of the incident. 

‘I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest, but compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonizers, it’s not extreme at all. 

‘This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal.’

Like Bushnell, Azzarello released his own manifesto before his act on Friday.

However, unlike the late servicemen, his motives appear a bit more muddied 

In his Substack, he 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 New York Police Department said an investigation is ongoing, as other recent social media posts show how Azzarello recently praised

The New York Police Department said an investigation is ongoing, as other recent social media posts show how Azzarello recently praised “martyrs” like the former U.S. military member who also lit himself on fire, but died during the February protest against the war in Gaza

Like the Air Force member, Aaron Bushnell (pictured) Azzarello released his own manifesto before his act on Friday, but unlike the late servicemen, his motives seem a bit more muddied

Like the Air Force member, Aaron Bushnell (pictured) Azzarello released his own manifesto before his act on Friday, but unlike the late servicemen, his motives seem a bit more muddied

The rest of the profile amounts to a rambling diatribe ageist the establishment, which Azzarello appears to be the authors of ‘totalitarian con’. 

He also warns of a ‘an apocalyptic fascist world coup’, and in fliers posted to his social media, he flaunts other self made pamphlets centered around the ‘dipshit secrets of our rotten world’.

‘When the economy collapses and it feels like World War III overnight, you’ll know exactly why,’ Azzarello warns in the flier. 

His profile claims he has been self-employed since March of 2023. In one post, he claims to have served 40 days in jail for one of the incidents back in August.

In another from that time period, papers scrawled with seemingly random words and unsettling rambling cover various surfaces of what appears to be the man’s apartment.

The NYPD investigation into the incident, as of writing, remains ongoing. 

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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