Person sets themself on fire outside Trump trial courthouse



NEW YORK (WPIX) — A person set themself on fire outside the courthouse where former President Donald Trump was on trial on Friday.

A person could be seen lying on the ground outside at a park across the street from the Manhattan courthouse. People rushed over to douse the person with a fire extinguisher and try to bat the flames away. NewsNation crews at the courthouse witnessed court officers and New York police officers rushing toward the flames in a chaotic scene.

Emergency responders then rushed the person away on a stretcher. No other details were immediately available from police.

Police confirmed to The Hill and WPIX that the person had self-immolated, or set themself on fire.

Protestors and counter-protestors have been gathered at the park outside the courthouse all week as the first stages of the trial got underway.

A full jury of 12 people and six alternates had been seated in Trump’s hush money case just minutes before the fire, drawing the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president a step closer to opening statements.

The trial centers on a $130,000 payment that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and personal fixer, made to porn actor Stormy Daniels to prevent her claims of a sexual encounter with Trump from becoming public in the final days of the 2016 race.

Prosecutors say Trump obscured the true nature of the payments in internal records when his company reimbursed Cohen, who pleaded guilty to federal charges in 2018 and is expected to be a star witness for the prosecution.

Trump has denied having a sexual encounter with Daniels, and his lawyers argue that the payments to Cohen were legitimate legal expenses.

Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. He could get up to four years in prison if convicted, though it’s not clear that the judge would opt to put him behind bars. Trump would almost certainly appeal any conviction.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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