AceShowbiz - Hayden Panettiere's family members are urging the judge overseeing the actress' felony domestic violence case not to back down as he sentences her boyfriend.
Brian Hickerson was arrested by police on 2 May after an argument with the former "Nashville" star at her home reportedly turned physical.
His lawyers tried to fight the charges against him in court on Wednesday (July 10), arguing Panettiere was also to blame for the bust-up, but the judge ruled prosecutors had enough evidence to move forward with the case, and denied the defendant's motion for dismissal.
Hickerson, who had previously pleaded not guilty, was also slapped with a restraining order, demanding he stay at least 100 yards (91 metres) away from Panettiere.
If convicted of the felony, he faces up to four years in prison and now Hayden's family has released a statement, encouraging the judge to take a tough line.
"We are hopeful that the judge makes the right decision," it reads. "It's an important message in terms of domestic violence for all women."
Panettiere and Hickerson were first linked in August, 2018, shortly after the actress split from her fiance, former boxing champ Wladimir Klitschko - the father of her four-year-old daughter, Kaya.