'American Idol' winner Laine Hardy arrested for allegedly recording ex-girlfriend
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/29/2022
American Idol winner Laine Hardy has been arrested in Louisiana on a felony charge for allegedly recording his ex-girlfriend's private conversations in her college dorm room.
The 21-year-old country singer turned himself in to the Louisiana State University Police Department on Friday morning, April 29 and was booked shortly afterwards into East Baton Rouge Prison, Baton Rouge's local CBS affiliate WAFB 9News reported.
According to the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison's Inmate List which is available online, Laine was still in custody as of mid-afternoon on Friday.
"Hardy was arrested by LSU Police today and booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison for violation of 15:1303 -- Interception and Disclosure of Wire, Electronic, or Oral Communication," LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard told the news outlet.
According to the arrest warrant obtained by WAFB 9News, a female and her roommate found a recording device inside their dorm room at Azalea Hall on the LSU campus on April 6.
The pair notified LSU police of their discovery the next day, with the female telling police she had found the device, which looked like a phone charger, under her futon.
The woman claimed she had previously been in a romantic relationship with Laine.
The arrest warrant also reportedly reveals that authorities later found evidence of secret recordings that had been taped in ten different days in February 2022.
Laine, who appeared on American Idol's sixteenth season and went on to win Season 17 in 2019, may face a maximum $10,000 fine and up to a ten-year prison sentence if he's convicted.
Laine surrendered himself to police on Friday morning after a warrant was put on for his arrest one day earlier on Thursday, April 28.
On Thursday night, the country singer posted a lengthy message to his followers on Facebook, informing them of his pending arrest.
"Earlier today, I received a warrant due to allegations made against me and have been fully cooperative with the Louisiana State University Police Department," Laine 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. However, due to the sensitive nature of this allegation, I humbly ask for privacy at this time."
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He added, "I have the utmost respect for the law and will assist in their investigation as needed moving forward."
Laine, who currently resides in French Settlement, LA, was only 18 years old when he competed on Season 17 of American Idol and was crowned champion over runner-up Alejandro Aranda.
American Idol judge Katy Perry joked during the Season 17 finale that Laine -- who never made it past the last round of auditions on Season 16 -- must have taken some "pop star vitamins."
Katy predicted that if Laine applied himself over the next five years as he had throughout the competition, he'd be "one of the biggest stars on the planet."
Fellow judge Lionel Richie complimented Laine on having "the best attitude ever," and Luke was impressed by the singer's unique and identifiable tone.
Earlier this week, Laine had announced he would be returning to American Idol and performing with fellow Season 17 finalist Laci Kaye Booth on ABC's American Idol broadcast on Monday, May 2.
However whether that Idol appearance will still occur in light of his arrest is not immediately clear.
According to WAFB 9News, Laine has been part of Louisiana's tourism advertising and graced the cover of Louisiana Inspiration Guide's 2022 cover.
"Laine Hardy has been an outstanding ambassador for Louisiana and partnering with him has been a truly wonderful experience," Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser reportedly said when releasing the guide earlier this year.
"His love of Louisiana is evident in his music and in the passion he shows when speaking about our great state.