Man sets himself on fire outside NY court at Trump’s trial

NEW YORK – A man set himself on fire on Friday outside the New York courthouse where Donald Trump’s historic hush-money trial was taking place, witnesses said.

A witness on the scene said he first heard the man throwing pamphlets into the air, then saw him douse himself from a can and light himself on fire. “At that point, I said, ‘Oh shoot, what am I going to see?’” the witness told Reuters.

The witness, who declined to give his name, said the man burned for several minutes.

CNN reporters said they saw a man engulfed in flames for more than three minutes. “I see a totally charred human being,” one of them said on air.

The shocking development came shortly after jury selection for the trial was completed, clearing the way for prosecutors and defense attorneys to make opening statements next week in a case stemming from hush money paid to a porn star.

A smell of smoke lingered in the plaza shortly after the incident, according to a Reuters witness, and a police officer sprayed a fire extinguisher on the ground.

The 12 jurors, along with six alternates, will consider evidence in a first-ever trial to determine whether a former US president is guilty of breaking the law.

The jury consists of seven men and five women, mostly employed in white-collar professions: two corporate lawyers, a software engineer, a speech therapist and an English teacher. Most are not native New Yorkers, hailing from across the US and countries like Ireland and Lebanon.

The downtown Manhattan courthouse, heavily guarded by police, drew a throng of protesters and onlookers on Monday, the trial’s first day, though crowds have dwindled since then. (Reuters)

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