Three years ago, Lynne Hardy tasted stardom by winning American Idol. Last week, the 21-year-old grabbed the headlines for a different reason.
An undergraduate student at Hardy State, LouisianaShe looked under her bed in her dormitory, found a hidden audio recording device and told the police she feared the musician had planted it there.
After police in Baton Rouge said they found evidence to support the woman’s suspicions, Hardy was jailed Friday on charges of intercepting oral communication. He has since posted a $5,000 bond for release pending the outcome of the case.
In a statement, Hardy neither confirmed nor denied the claim but said he was “fully cooperative”.
“I highly respect the law and will assist in their investigation as needed moving forward,” the statement said.
The police did not name the woman.
Hardy, a guitarist and vocalist from Livingston Parish in southeastern Louisiana, captured national attention when he won the 17th season of American Idol in May 2019.
A home performance by fellow Louisiana Mark Broussard, Jambalaya (On the Bayou) by Hank Williams and Bring It On Home to Me by Sam Cooke led to victory when he was just 17 years old.
In court documents filed last week, police said Hardy dated a student at Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge for about four months starting in November 2021.
Police said the student began to suspect that Hardy, who did not attend LSU, was spying on her when they decided he knew what she had done over the Christmas holidays even though she had never told him.
The student also allegedly found a fake Instagram account linked to Hardy that she believes he was using to cover up his illegal monitoring.
Police said they eventually confronted Hardy, who said he had left a “bug” in her room that had since dumped it in the pond. Hardy allegedly later put his confession in writing in a social media message that the woman eventually provided to investigators.
Police said the woman decided to report Hardy after she and a roommate apparently found a phone charger under her bed on the night of April 6.
The woman used Google to determine that the device was in fact a voice-activated recorder like the one Hardy allegedly dumped in a puddle.
Investigators said in court documents that the woman called police at the university the next day and handed the device over to officers who downloaded its contents.
Police claimed the officers heard a “very distinct voice” as well as “Lane”‘s name being mentioned repeatedly in one of the files, apparently bringing the device into the bedroom.
Police said in court records that other recordings – which were recorded over a 10-day period starting on February 10 – apparently depict him leaving the room and the woman “having very frank conversations with her roommates”.
Police said the recordings indicate that Hardy picked up the device at one point and took it to a place where he spoke with another man about feeding a dog. He then allegedly returned the device to the room, where he allegedly caught the woman talking to her mother about the separation from Hardy.
Police said that in one of the recent recordings on the device, the woman was heard telling someone that she did not know if “the bug was still in her room”.
In Louisiana, at least one person involved in a conversation must legally provide consent to be registered.
Anyone in the state convicted of unlawfully intercepting another person’s communications with a third party can face a prison sentence of two to ten years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
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