UPDATE; 6:55 AM EXCLUSIVE: On the day of her latest deadline, a federal judge today granted Abby Lee Miller a fifth and seemingly final extension to respond to her indictment last October on 20 counts of fraud. In agreeing the request from the Dance Moms star’s lawyers, Judge Terrence McVerry also made it clear he is finally running out of patience with Miller’s legal footdragging. “THE COURT IS NOT INCLINED TO GRANT ANY FURTHER EXTENSIONS,” the Pennsylvania judge made a point of noting at the end of today’s order.
Charged with bankruptcy fraud, concealment of bankruptcy assets and false bankruptcy declarations, Miller could end up spending up to five years in prison and paying more than $5 million in fines if found guilty.
“Upon consideration of Defendant Abigale Lee Miller’s Fifth Motion for Extension of Time to File Pretrial Motions, having been informed of the Government’s consent thereto, and finding that sufficient cause exists for the requested extension to allow Defendant’s counsel and the Government to resolve any potential discovery disputes and to enable Defendant’s counsel to make informed decisions concerning the filing of pretrial motions, it is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED that said Motion is GRANTED,” wrote McVerry on Thursday (read it here). Having plead not guilty to the charges on November 2, Miller now has until May 31 to file the required documents for her eventual trial.
Indicted by a grand jury on October 13, 2015, Miller is alleged to have hidden more than $755,000 in earnings from the Lifetime reality series produced by Collins Avenue Production and related businesses from the courts and the IRS while going through bankruptcy court.
PREVIOUS, MARCH 30 PM: Once again, Abby Lee Miller is waiting until the last minute to get more time to respond to her indictment on 20 counts of fraud with a possible five years behind bars and $5 million in fines. In a filing today in Pennsylvania federal court, lawyers for the Dance Moms host asked for a fifth extension to present pretrial motions against the government’s extensive case against her.
With the pretrial motions due tomorrow, Miller’s lawyers now want to be allowed to file them by May 31 – and, while no response has come yet, she’ll likely get it from the seemingly lenient Judge Terrence McVerry. Since Miller pleaded not guilty on November 2 to the October 13 grand jury indictment, the judge has not only granted every past request but also let the host of the Lifetime reality series travel domestically and internationally – like to France, where she is right now.
“On February 29, 2016, the Court granted Ms. Miller’s Fourth Motion for Extension of Time to File Pretrial Motions to enable undersigned counsel to review the additional discovery material marked at the FBI’s Office which was requested for duplication,” said her attorneys Robert Ridge and Brandon Verdream in their latest motion today (read it here). “Undersigned counsel needs additional time to review the discovery material marked for duplication.”
“Undersigned counsel and Assistant U.S. Attorney Melucci have also engaged in a meeting and discussions concerning potential discovery issues, and the parties are attempting to reach an agreement concerning the potential discovery issues,” the duo added.
Among the allegations, Miller is charged with bankruptcy fraud, concealment of bankruptcy assets and false bankruptcy declarations. U.S. Attorney David Hickton and the government also say Miller concealed more than $755,000 in earnings from the Collins Avenue Entertainment-produced Dance Moms — including having payments made to her mother instead of her directly. Collins Avenue is not named as a defendant in the federal suit.
Fittingly, the investigation into potential fraud started when the overseeing judge in Miller’s bankruptcy case saw Dance Moms on TV and wondered why no mention of the show had been made in Miller’s Chapter 11 filings starting in 2010.
As well as hosting Dance Moms (which had a David Bowie-themed show last night) and conducting master classes all over Europe, Miller is planning for the future in one sense: Her ALDC Studio will be conducting intermediate and advanced “bootie” camps in Santa Monica this summer.
— OfficialALDC (@ALDC_official) March 29, 2016