The jury is present. Opening statements may be made on Monday. But the trial against the former president was overshadowed by a tragic incident.

The rear view of several men in suits.  However, you can see Donald Trump's face, who has turned around and is shouting something.

Always have the last word: Trump leaves the courtroom on Friday Photo: Maansi Srivastava dpa

NEW YORK dpa/afp | The man who set himself on fire in a park in front of the New York courthouse during the criminal trial against former US President Donald Trump dies, according to US media reports. The 37-year-old man died from his injuries in hospital. as reported by several US media on Saturday night (local time), citing police sources.

According to media reports and eyewitnesses, the man from the US state of Florida had thrown leaflets into the air before Friday's crime mentioning various conspiracy theories. Initially there was no official information about his motives.

The man reportedly doused himself with a liquid and set it on fire in front of bystanders. Some American media broadcast live images of the incident. Some witnesses are said to have tried to help. Finally, police and judicial security forces rushed in and extinguished the flames.

The man was then transferred to an ambulance and taken away. Police described his condition as critical after the incident. The man was pronounced dead at the hospital, NBC reported, citing police. However, police did not give an exact time of death.

The incident occurred in Collect Pond Park, directly across from the courthouse where Trump's criminal trial is currently taking place. The courthouse is practically cordoned off and there are numerous police officers on constant guard there. Dozens of media representatives with cameras and broadcast vans were stationed everywhere.

Trump opponents and supporters can gather at the park to demonstrate, but so far only a few have done so on the days of the trial. The area is cordoned off with barricades around it, but also has open entrances.

Jury composed of seven men and five women

One jury and six alternate jurors have already been chosen for the criminal trial against the former president of the United States. Therefore, initial arguments in the silence process can begin on Monday. Five more substitute jurors were sworn in on Friday, as journalists present in the courtroom unanimously reported. On Thursday the twelve-member jury had already met and a first substitute jury had been found.

After about four days of difficult searching, the jury in the first criminal trial against a former US president now consists of seven men and five women, plus five women and one man as alternate jurors. They all live in Manhattan and work, among other things, as teachers, bank clerks, lawyers, physical therapists or in a clothing company. Some of them are married and have children. However, their identities remain secret in accordance with strict judicial regulations.

Judge Juan Merchán announced that the trial will continue with opening arguments on Monday. The case against Trump involves hush payments to a porn actress. The Prosecutor's Office accuses the Republican, who wants to be re-elected president of the United States in November, of falsifying commercial documents. Trump has pleaded not guilty.

Trump likely to run if sentenced to prison

According to the court, the process could last up to eight weeks. If he is convicted, the 77-year-old faces a prison sentence of several years, which could also be suspended. Trump would also have the opportunity to appeal. Even after a conviction, and even in the case of a prison sentence, Trump is likely to run in the presidential election.

The background to the case is that Trump paid $130,000 in hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels in 2016, shortly before his election as president. She had claimed to have had sexual relations with him. Trump denies having an affair, but he does not deny that money flowed. Confidentiality agreements between two parties are not inherently illegal. However, Trump is accused of illegally recording the payments, attempting to illegally conceal them and thus covering up other violations of the law.

Attorney General requests cancellation of security deposit

Meanwhile, New York Attorney General Letitia James has called for the cancellation of the $175 million (€164 million) security deposit provided by Donald Trump in a civil case for corporate fraud. In a document dated Friday, the claim is justified by the fact that the company that guarantees security is too small and opaque.

Instead of choosing “a large national insurance company licensed in New York,” which has experience in security services and whose “liquidity far exceeds $175 million,” Trump preferred a “small insurer.” It is not authorized to do business in New York and has total liquidity of $138 million.

Trump had deposited the security deposit on April 1 and thus avoided coercive measures by the New York prosecutor's office, such as blocking accounts or confiscating property.

In the civil business fraud case, Trump and his sons Eric and Donald Jr. were found guilty of artificially inflating the assets of their real estate empire over the years to obtain favorable terms from banks and insurance companies. Trump was therefore sentenced in February to a fine of around $355 million plus interest, which amounted to about $454 million.

Trump appealed the verdict and therefore did not have to pay the fine for the moment, but he did have to pay the security deposit.

Trump was originally fined $454 million. However, his lawyers said the billionaire could not do so. The background is that most of Trump's assets are tied up in real estate and are not immediately available to him in cash. A New York appeals court then significantly reduced the required guarantee to $175 million.

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