“American Idol” Season 17 winner Laine Hardy was arrested Friday by the Louisiana State University Police Department after the singer was accused of bugging his ex-girlfriend’s dorm room with a recording device.
Hardy, 21, was booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison for violation of 15:1303 — interception and disclosure of wire, electronic or oral communication. If found guilty, he could face a fine of up to $10,000 and or a prison sentence of two to 10 years.
According to the arrest warrant, a woman and her roommate found a recording device inside their dorm room on April 6. The following day, they reported the finding to LSU police. The woman told police she found the device, which looked like a phone charger, under her futon, the warrant stated.
She told officers that she believed her ex-boyfriend, Hardy, had left the device in her room earlier because he appeared to know details about what was going on in her life even though she hadn’t told him about them. Police said they later found evidence of secret recordings made over 10 days in February, the warrant said.
“The victim advised she immediately confronted him, to which he admitted to her that he left a ‘bug’ in her room but discarded it in his pond,” a police affidavit said.
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Hardy is Louisiana native who lives in Livingston Parish. He is not an LSU student.
The “Idol” star confirmed there was a warrant for his arrest in a Facebook post Thursday, avoiding details but noting there was an incident of a “sensitive nature” that occurred on LSU’s campus.
“Earlier today, I received a warrant due to allegations made against me and have been fully cooperative with the Louisiana State University Police Department,” Hardy wrote. “I understand that my career has thrust me into the public spotlight, and I embrace that wholeheartedly as my entire world belongs to my music and my fans.’
He continued, “However, due to the sensitive nature of this allegation, I humbly ask for privacy at this time.”
“I have the utmost respect for the law and will assist in their investigation as needed moving forward,” he said.
In a statement to USA TODAY, Hardy’s attorney C Frank Holthaus said, “Mr. Hardy did receive a warrant for his arrest earlier today and has been and will continue to be completely cooperative with the Louisiana State University Police Department on this matter.”
A university representative Ernie Ballard also confirmed the “active investigation” to USA TODAY.
Hardy rose to fame after winning “American Idol” in 2019. It marked the end of a long road on the singing competition for the Livingston, Louisiana, native, who previously competed on the show in 2018 but was eliminated from the Top 50.
He hadn’t intended to give “Idol” another try in 2019 but was persuaded to sing for the judges again when he accompanied his friend, Ashton Gill, on guitar at her audition. While Gill didn’t make it to Hollywood, Hardy took his golden ticket all the way to victory, winning over fans young and old with his throwback song choices and Elvis Presley-like swagger.
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“I hesitated to take the golden ticket (to Hollywood), and then I figured I’d give it another try and see how far I could get,” Hardy told USA TODAY following his win. “Throughout the season I had second thoughts about it because it’s been really tough, but I just kept doing what I was doing; stressing out every day and pulling through it.”
Contributing: Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Laine Hardy: ‘American Idol’ star arrested, accused of bugging room