Two different unscripted TV hosts had two very different interactions today with the federal government. Ex-Celebrity Apprentice host Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States while Abby Lee Miller began to find out if she’s going to prison or not – and just how much the U.S. Attorney’s office really wants her behind bars
Over a year after she was indicted on 20 counts of fraud and more than six months after a new charge was made of violating currency reporting laws, the Dance Moms host Friday faced a district judge in Pittsburgh in the first part of her sentencing.
Making the final case for the government on Friday in the Pennsylvania city, Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Melucci told Chief Judge Joy Flowers Conti that Miller should be sentenced to 2.5 years in prison. With the Dance Moms host sitting nearby, the federal prosecutor dismissed attempts by Miller to blame the matter, for which she pled guilty on June 27 last year, as the fault of her sudden fame on the Lifetime series. A deliberate Melucci said that the Dance Moms host “intended to cause harm” to her creditors by deliberately misrepresenting her income on bankruptcy filings in 2012.
One piece of definitive movement today saw Miller dropped her attempts to not pay up her attempts to keep the $120,000 she was accused of illegally sneaking into America from Australia in the summer of 2014. In previous court filings, the feds have claimed that Miller used minors to get the money Stateside. They have now agreed to drop their request to enhance Miller’s sentence for the use of minors in her activity of not reporting bringing more that $10,000 into the country.
A second hearing is scheduled for February 24 in which Miller’s lawyers will make their case for probation. The judge is expected to make her decision either at or soon after that second hearing. It is not clear yet if Miller will appear as witness in her own defense next month.
It is a bit clearer that the sentencing that could see first time offender Miller behind bars for just six months or getting probation and paying a lot less than government prosecutors desire if the Chief Judge’s tentative rulings of yesterday on the guideline range holds (read it here). It is the purpose of the two sentencing hearings for both sides to have an opportunity to change the judge’s mind if they so desire – which both seemingly do.
Miller is represented in this matter by Robert Ridge and Brandon Verdream of Pittsburgh’s Clark Hill PC.
Kim Lyons contributed to this report