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He threatened 'war' with Mark Brnovich's office. Now he's been convicted of cyberstalking

Chauncey Hollingberry attracted a following on YouTube for recording his interactions with public workers in Arizona. But prosecutors say his actions went too far.
Credit: YouTube Screenshot

PHOENIX — A so-called "First Amendment Auditor" who built a following on YouTube by provoking government workers throughout Arizona has been sentenced to five years of probation for unleashing a harassment campaign against the Arizona Attorney General's Office. 

Chauncey Hollingberry, 35, pleaded guilty recently to one count of cyberstalking for posting videos on YouTube that targeted one of Mark Brnovich's employees and encouraging his followers to harass them.

The situation began in 2018 after a complaint was made against a video Hollingberry had uploaded involving the AG's office. 

By this time, Hollingberry had accumulated several subscribers online for posting videos of himself conducting "audits" at various schools, police departments, and government buildings. The videos typically capture Hollingberry being told to stop filming inside a building, Hollingberry objecting, and him taunting annoyed security guards. 

"Are you a snowflake? Don't melt on me snowflake," Hollingberry can be heard saying during a 2019 video recorded inside the Phoenix Veteran Affairs building.

Hollingberry's YouTube account is reflective of a social movement known as "First Amendment Auditing," which typically involves an individual testing their constitutional rights by filming themselves in public spaces. Some consider these rabble-rousers to be political activists, others accuse them of being confrontational agitators. 

RELATED: In era of transparency, Arizona law limits filming police

The videos that landed Hollingberry in federal court began with police body-worn camera footage depicting employees of the AG's office, public records show. The police were responding to a trespassing call involving the defendant. 

After the body-camera footage was uploaded to YouTube, a complaint was made to take it down because it contained the private information of employees from the AG's office. 

In retaliation, Hollingberry began targeting a specific female employee of the agency by posting videos -- one of them titled "War on the attorney general's office" -- that mentioned the woman by name. Court records show Hollingberry would ask his followers to help look up the woman's home address and send marijuana to her work office. 

"I don't care how much money or time it takes, I'm taking that [expletive] down," the defendant was transcribed as saying in one of his videos, according to court records.

Federal prosecutors say Hollingberry additionally sent several emails to AG's Office staff suggesting he had nude photos of the female employee and accusing her of being a drug addict.  

The defendant filmed himself filling out public records requests to obtain the woman's work emails and threatened to sue her for filing the privacy complaint with YouTube.

"I do this all [expletive] day and I will [expletive] your life up if you keep doing this," the defendant was transcribed as saying in one of his videos.

As a result of the harassment, the victim had to have a security detail assigned to her and she limited her movements in public out of fear of running into the defendant, court records show.

Criminal charges were filed against Hollingberry in 2020 and he eventually pleaded guilty to one count of cyberstalking. He was sentenced last week to 60 months of probation after serving 26 months in pretrial detention.

While on probation, Hollingberry is prohibited from contacting the victim and his internet usage will be restricted. 

Credit: 12News

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