“American Idol” Season 17 winner Laine Hardy was arrested Friday by the Louisiana State University Police Department after the singer was accused of bugging a student’s 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.
The student told police she discovered the device on April 7 and did a Google search to discover it was a voice-activated audio recorder. The student told police she believes Hardy had placed the bug there.
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.
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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