Who is Max Azzarello, the conspiracy theorist who set himself on fire outside Trump's trial?

Before starting to baselessly share his theories, the man worked as a political consultant and was even registered as a Democrat.

Before leaving the outskirts of the New York courthouse where the trial against former President Donald Trump is taking place, Max Azzarello, 37, published a disturbing manifesto on his Substack titled: “I have set myself on fire outside the Trump Trial.”

Azzarello’s promise was fulfilled. Outside the courthouse of the first criminal trial against a former U.S. president, the man, a Florida native, threw a series of pamphlets into the air before setting himself on fire at 1:35 p.m. in Collect Pond Park. Authorities were able to extinguish the fire and, although he remained alive for several hours, Azzarello finally passed away late Friday night.

The main details of Azzarello’s life were shared mainly by the police, but his work life is on his social networks, especially his LinkedIn profile.

According to the NYPD, Azzarello’s driver’s license showed that he was born in 1987 and is a native of St Augustine, Florida. His family did not even know that he had left the Sunshine State to go to New York, where it is presumed that he arrived between April 13 and 19. He was seen on several occasions outside the courthouse with a sign accusing President Joe Biden and former President Trump of preparing a fascist coup.

Authorities also reported that Azzarello was unknown to police before the incident, as he had no criminal record in New York.

While it is unclear at what point Azzarello began believing and spreading his unproven and unsubstantiated theories, which he only began to record in 2023, his LinkedIn profile shows that, for a long time, the Floridian was involved in the world of consultancy with jobs even related to political campaigns for Congress for Democratic candidates.

In fact, according to the Police, Azzarello was registered as a “Democrat,” although in the last year, he denounced the Washington political establishment alike, regardless of his political affiliation in previous years.

Joseph Kenny, the chief of detectives for the NYPD, told reporters, “The pamphlets [thrown by Mr Azzarello seconds before the incident] seem to be propaganda-based, almost like a conspiracy theory type of pamphlets.”

On his LinkedIn profile, Azzarello further identifies himself as an independent researcher who attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill between 2005 and 2009.

He then attended Rutgers University from 2010 to 2012, where he received a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning.

In his cover letter, Azzarello wrote a message related to his conspiracy theories (“We’ve got a secret fascism problem”). In his profile he said that he “fell into a rabbit hole and learned all the secrets of the world” after the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank in 2023 and believes that “cryptocurrency is our first planetary multi-trillion dollar Ponzi scheme.”

In addition, he has a profile photo with former Democratic President Bill Clinton, whom, according to court records cited by the New York Post, he had sued along with 100 other defendants in 2023 for conspiracy in federal court in Manhattan.

According to the tabloid, in addition to Bill Clinton, the lawsuit included figures such as Hillary Clinton, the country of Saudi Arabia, Mark Cuban, Richard Branson and Ross Perot.

The case, which Azzarello filed without a lawyer, alleged that these people were involved in an “elaborate network of Ponzi schemes” dating back to the 1990s and continuing until 2023.

The New York Post reported that the lawsuit was dismissed in October 2023 because Azzarello failed to file required court documents.

What are Max Azzarello’s theories?

In his extensive manifesto published before seriously harming himself, among many other things, Azzarello wrote that the world is the victim of a “totalitarian scam” and that the United States government, in concert with many other allies, “is about to hit us with an apocalyptic fascist world coup.”

That manifesto is not the only entry in Azzarello’s Substack author profile, where from April 16, 2023, to the present day, he published a total of 27 entries in which he wrote several conspiracy theories about cryptocurrencies, which he described as a global Ponzi economic scheme that will soon cause the world economy to collapse; the late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, episodes of ‘The Simpson’ and the movie ‘Leave the World Behind,’ which he linked to an alleged “criminal government” that is controlling the world with a totalitarian tyranny.

In addition, he mentioned “evidence” that, according to him, would demonstrate his theory that the United States is a kleptocracy dominated by Democratic and Republican elites while they pretend that a democracy prevails in the country.

“That’s because the U.S. is a ‘secret kleptocracy’: they pretend it’s a democracy, but both parties are controlled by financial criminals whose only goal is to bleed us dry. Media plays a central role in the con: No matter our interests or political alignments, we are all flooded with messaging designed to divide the public and make us bitter, angry, apathetic, anxious, helpless, and hopeless as they intentionally make our lives worse,” wrote Azzarello, who decided to set himself on fire in what he called a “radical protest” that baffled the entire country.