BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA) – “American Idol” winner Laine Hardy has been arrested amid allegations that he placed a “bug” in an ex-girlfriend’s dorm room at Louisiana State University.
Hardy was booked into jail on Friday, and charged with interception and disclosure of wire, electronic, or oral communication, according to the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office.
According to an affidavit provided by the sheriff’s office, the alleged victim and her roommate were watching a movie in their dorm room on April 6 when they found “a device appearing to be a phone charger” under the victim’s bed. She told officials she researched the device and determined it was used for audio recording, per the affidavit.
She also suspected Hardy, her ex-boyfriend, had placed the device in her room, telling police she had previously “found a fake Instagram account on the Defendant’s phone” in February, and claimed he “used to cover up that he was illegally recording her when he was not around,” according to the affidavit.
Hardy also allegedly knew of the victim’s activities during Christmas break, which the victim had not disclosed to the “American Idol” winner.
At the time, the victim says she confronted Hardy, who confessed to placing a “bug” in her room before removing it. The alleged victim also provided a screenshot of a Snapchat message where Hardy again confessed to leaving the “bug” in her room.
The victim and Hardy had started dating in Nov. 2021, but broke up after the incident in February, she told police.
The device found on April 6 was turned over the police at Louisiana State University, who proceeded gather evidence. Some of the recordings captured “very candid conversations” between the victim and her roommates, according to an investigator who reviewed the audio. There were also indications that the suspect picked up the recorder from the victim’s dorm room and returned it on a different occasion, the affidavit says.
On one of the final recordings, the investigator heard the victim “telling someone about how she figured out the Defendant was recording her and that she doesn’t know if the ‘bug is still in her room.'”
Prior to his arrest on Friday, Hardy had released a statement on social media in which he admitted to knowing of “sensitive” allegations against him, saying he would be cooperating with police.
“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 wrote, in part. “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.”
Laine Hardy’s attorney, C. Frank Holthaus, issued a statement following Hardy’s arrest on Friday, reiterating that Hardy is cooperating.
“I can confirm that Mr. Hardy did receive a warrant for his arrest earlier today and has been and will continue to be completely cooperative with the Baton Rouge Police Department on this matter,” Holthaus said. “Due to the public nature of Mr. Hardy’s profession, we ask for privacy at this time.”
If convicted of interception and disclosure of wire, electronic, or oral communications, Hardy could face anywhere from two to ten years behind bars and a fine of up to $10,000.
Organizers of the Mississippi Mudbug Festival announced Hardy would not perform on Friday following the incident. Shake the Bucket featuring Hannah Everhart will continue to perform at 6:00 p.m. at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds. Admission to concert is free.
Refunds will be available to those that had purchased tickets at the point of purchase by the original method of payment. Ticketholders that purchased tickets through Ticketmaster will automatically receive a refund. Ticketmaster will process refunds to the original method of payment used at the time of purchase.
Hardy, 21, appeared on the 17th season of “American Idol” in 2019 and went on to win the competition. He was also a contestant on the show’s previous season but didn’t make it to the finals.