Baton Rouge, LA – “American Idol” winner Laine Hardy was arrested on Friday and charged with putting a bug in his ex-girlfriend’s Louisiana State University (LSU) dorm room.
The arrest warrant for the 21-year-old Hardy said his former girlfriend and her roommate found a recording device in their room in Azalea Hall on April 6, WWL reported.
They didn’t know what they had found but a Google search revealed it was a voice-activated audio recorder, The Advocate reported.
The women reported their find to the LSU police the next day.
Hardy’s ex-girlfriend told police they found the device under a futon and said that it looked like a cell phone charger, WWL reported.
She told police she believed it had been placed there by Hardy because her ex-boyfriend knew details about her life that she hadn’t told him.
The woman told police she dated Hardy from November of 2021 to February of this year, The Advocate reported.
She said she found a fake Instagram on his phone that he used “to cover up that he was illegally recording her when she was not around,” according to court documents.
The arrest warrant said investigators later found evidence that secret recordings had been made in the dorm room over a 10-day period in February, WWL reported.
Police said most of the recordings were made in five-hour blocks between Feb. 10 and Feb. 20, The Advocate reported.
“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,” according to a police affidavit.
Hardy’s ex-girlfriend gave police screenshots of Snapchat messages in which he admitted that he had been spying on her, The Advocate reported.
The affidavit said Hardy’s “distinguishable voice” could be heard in the background of the first recording that investigators believe was made when he placed the device in the dorm room.
Between Feb. 16 and Feb. 20, Hardy recorded the victim talking to her mother about their breakup, The Advocate reported.
The affidavit said the victim could be heard sharing her suspicions that Hardy was listening to her in a recording made on Feb. 20 but said she didn’t know if the “bug is still in her room.”
Louisiana State University spokesman Ernie Ballard said Hardy was charged with felony interception and disclosure of wire, electronic, or oral communication, WWL reported.
The musician surrendered to authorities at the LSU Police Department on April 29.
He was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, WWL reported.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office said Hardy would be released after he goes before a judge and has a bond amount set.
If convicted, Hardy could be sentenced to between two and 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, The Advocate reported.
Hardy, the Season 17 winner of “American Idol,” posted about his arrest on social media the night before he turned himself in, WWL reported.
“Earlier today, I received a warrant due to allegations made against me and have been fully cooperative with the Louisiana State University Police Department,” he wrote.
— Laine Hardy (@TheLaineHardy) April 29, 2022
“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. “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.”