Ex-‘Dance Moms’ cast members support prosecution against Abby Lee Miller
Two former cast members of the Lifetime reality TV show “Dance Moms” attended a sentencing hearing Monday in Abby Lee Miller’s bankruptcy fraud case, but they said they weren’t there to support the show’s former star.
“I’m here supporting the government,” Christi Lukasiak told the Trib at U.S. District Court, Downtown. “Because I’m a tax-paying citizen in Pittsburgh.”
Original cast members Lukasiak and her daughter, Chloe, along with Kelly Hyland and her daughters, Brooke and Paige, quit the show in 2014 after conflicts with Miller.
Hyland attended part of the hearing with Lukasiak. The proceedings will stretch into a second day.
Miller, 51, formerly of Penn Hills, pleaded guilty in June to hiding about $775,000 in income from a bankruptcy judge in 2010. The reality star faces 24 to 30 months in prison, but she is hoping for probation.
Defense attorneys spent Monday trying to whittle down the $775,000 in income that federal prosecutors want to hold Miller responsible for hiding, which could, in turn, reduce the severity of the sentence.
In one attempt to reduce the amount Miller could be penalized for hiding, defense attorneys said Collins Avenue Productions was not paying Miller properly for the show in 2012. They said at one point she was owed $175,000.
In response, federal prosecutors presented an email Miller wrote to her accountant and attorney in September 2012 that stated she was almost out of bankruptcy and she had been requesting the checks be held.
Defense attorneys said some of the “Dance Moms” merchandise had been given away for free, rather than sold for a profit.
Judge Joy Flowers Conti has said she will most likely sentence Miller to probation instead of jail time because no creditors lost money, but prosecutors are trying to show that “economic harm” was done.
Sentencing is expected to take place Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer.