Man who set himself on fire outside Trump trial has died

A man who set himself on fire outside the New York courthouse where former US President Donald Trump is on trial has died.

Maxwell Azzarello was "declared deceased by hospital staff", police told NBC News in a phone call early on Saturday, local time.

No specific time of death was given.

Mr Azzarello, in his mid-30s, from St Augustine in Florida, threw conspiracy theory pamphlets in the air before setting himself alight in a designated protest area for pro and anti-Trump demonstrators on Friday.

Police said he entered Collect Pond Park, across the street from the court, at around 1:30pm, local time.

He took a canister out of his bag containing what is believed to have been an alcohol-based accelerant, before dousing himself in the fluid and setting himself ablaze, police said.

Officers and civilians ran into the protest area and tried to put out the flames using coats and fire extinguishers.

New York City fire commissioner Laura Kavanagh told reporters that Azzarello was taken to the burns unit at Weill Cornell Medical Centre, where he had been described as alive but in critical condition.

Four NYPD police officers suffered minor injuries from fire exposure, authorities said.

NYPD chief of detectives Joseph Kenny told reporters: "The pamphlets appear to be propaganda-based, almost a conspiracy theory type of pamphlet.

"Some information in regards to a Ponzi scheme and the fact that some of our local educational institutes are fronts for the mob. So, a little bit of a conspiracy theory going on here."

The blaze broke out after jury selection for Trump's hush money trial concluded with 12 people, and six alternatives, chosen to decide whether the former US president covered up payments to women who alleged they had affairs with him.

The Trump campaign released a statement on Friday afternoon offering its "condolences to the traumatised witnesses" after the blaze.

Video shared on social media showed Mr Azzarello lying on his back on the pavement outside the courthouse while the lower part of his body was on fire.

Another man sprayed him with a fire extinguisher which appeared to put the fire out.

Police officers were seen running over to the scene as the fire was extinguished.

Azzarello had no specific target - police

Mr Kenny said Azzarello was born in 1987 and arrived in New York City earlier in the week, NBC reported.

He said police were in contact with members of his family after the incident but they were unaware that he was in the city.

Police said they don't believe Azzarello was targeting any particular person or group.

Click to subscribe to the Sky News Daily wherever you get your podcasts

Historic trial to start Monday despite Trump's objections

The historic case, the first criminal trial of a former US president, is due to start on Monday after a last-minute bid by Trump to halt proceedings over his claims that the jury selection process was unfairly rushed was rejected by an appeals court judge.

Trump is accused of criminally altering business records to cover up a $130,000 (£104,200) payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, during his 2016 election campaign.

Ms Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who was paid $150,000 (£120,000), both claim to have had sex with Trump.

His lawyers say the payment was meant to spare himself and his family embarrassment, not help him win the election.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges. He is facing three other criminal cases which could go to trial.