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Man sets self on fire outside Trump trial

Messenger Desk

Published: 10:01, 20 April 2024

Man sets self on fire outside Trump trial

Photo: Collected

A man set himself on fire Friday (19 April) in a park outside the court where Donald Trump is standing trial in Manhattan, with a witness describing him throwing pamphlets before officers rushed to extinguish the flames.

Burning clothes were strewn in the park, which was locked down by authorities, while ambulances lined up nearby on standby, an AFP correspondent at the scene saw, describing a strong smell of burning chemicals.

Video seemingly taken by witnesses and posted on social media showed a person standing engulfed in flames, then falling to the ground as police and plainclothes officers rushed to beat out the blaze. One patrolman used a small fire extinguisher in an attempt to control the blaze.

A witness who gave his name as Dave, 73, told AFP he saw a man throwing pamphlets before dousing himself with an unspecified liquid and lighting himself on fire.

TV reporters described the incident unfolding moments after the full panel of 12 jurors and six alternates was selected for the trial of the former president in a hush money cover-up case. It appeared hearings in the case would resume after lunch despite the incident, but later than usual at 3 pm (1900 GMT).

"A male did light himself on fire outside of the Supreme Courthouse. We're still gathering details from the field," said a New York Police Department spokesman who gave no motive for the man's action.