ShareThis Page

Ex-'Dance Moms' cast members support prosecution against Abby Lee Miller

| Monday, May 8, 2017, 4:45 p.m.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Abby Lee Miller enters the federal courthouse Monday June 27, 2016, in downtown Pittsburgh to plead guilty to federal bankruptcy fraud and international money transaction charges.
Andrew Russell | Trib Total Media
Abigale 'Abby' Lee Miller, 50, formerly of Penn Hills, director and owner of Reign Dance Productions and star of the reality TV show, 'Dance Moms,' leaves the federal courthouse Downtown after pleading not guilty to bankruptcy fraud charges on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015.

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.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.