After a nearly four-month break, Dance Moms returns for more of its sixth season tonight on Lifetime with a little bit less weight on its immediate shoulders. Host Abby Lee Miller won’t have to be returning to a Pittsburgh federal courthouse next month for sentencing in her June 27 guilty plea to part of her indictment last year on 20 counts of fraud and a new charge of violating currency reporting laws.
In a case that has seen delay after delay and extension after extension, Miller now has been granted an additional 45 days by a judge on what was supposed to be her sentencing on October 11. In a deal between her lawyers and U.S. Attorney’s office and approved by new judge Chief Judge Joy Flowers Conti last month, the Dance Moms coach now will face the consequences of her illegal and much apologized for actions in December.
“Upon consideration of the Joint Motion for Continuance of Sentencing Hearing filed by the United States of America and Defendant Abigale Lee Miller, it is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED that said Motion is GRANTED,” said Chief Judge Conti on August 26 for both the fraud and the currency cases (read it here). “It is further hereby ORDERED that sentencing of Defendant Abigale Lee Miller shall occur on December 2, 2016, at 1:00 P.M.”
Looking at a possible $5 million fine and five years imprisonment on the initial charges, Miller and her legal team struck a deal with the feds, as Deadline first reveled on June 1, that will likely see her with a greatly reduced sentence, if any real jail time at all.
The request for sentencing delay was based on a case that could provide guidance in the Miller matter and, as always, schedules and paperwork. “The Court has approved the agreement entered into between Ms. Miller and the Government in which sentencing shall not occur until after the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit renders a decision in United States v. Free, said the August 23 motion, noting the previously cited ‘zero loss’ bankruptcy case (read it here). “Furthermore, due to conflicting schedules and the amount of information that must be analyzed, the U.S. Probation Office needs additional time to complete the Pre-Sentence Investigation Report in this matter,” said the filing from Miller’s lawyers Robert Ridge and Brandon Verdream of Pittsburgh’s Clark Hill PC and Gregory Melucci of the U.S. Attorney’s office.
While she has discussed the proceedings in the media in recent months, Miller made no mention of the matter online today as she hyped the return of the Collins Avenue Entertainment-produced Dance Moms:
Season 6 continues tonight at 9pm on Lifetime! I don’t see the episode until you do! It’s always… https://t.co/PZbaN0S6Z6
— Abby Lee Miller (@Abby_Lee_Miller) September 6, 2016
Before June 27, the last time the much-accused Miller was in court was back on November 2. That’s when she vehemently pleaded not guilty to the October 14 charges of concealing more than $755,000 in earnings from Dance Moms — including having payments made to her mother instead of her. At that time, Miller had to put up a $100,000 bond and seek court permission for international travel, which she has been granted repeatedly around the country and to Europe. That condition of her bond still stand currently, meaning she has needs to get court approval on her travel as she most recently did on August 18 to go to NYC, Chicago and parts of North Carolina.
The investigation into the state of Miller’s real finances began nearly two years ago after the judge in her ongoing but seemingly resolvable bankruptcy case came across the Lifetime show on TV one night. Judge Thomas Agresti questioned why money from the show wasn’t included as a part of the bankruptcy, which had Miller claiming a total income of $8,899 a month.
The subsequent deeper dive into her significant Dance Moms money and where it was coming and going got Miller on the feds’ radar and snared in their fraud tracker beam.