Murder-Plot Charge Against AC/DC's Phil Rudd Dropped

AC/DC's Phil Rudd
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AC/DC's Phil Rudd

He still faces charges of threatening to kill & drug possession, but the most serious charge has been dropped.

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd is no longer facing a charge of hiring a hitman to carry out two killings, according to New Zealand media reports.

Rudd's legal counsel Paul Mabey said the most serious charge against the 60-year-old, of attempting to procure a murder, has been withdrawn by NZ police following consultation with the Tauranga crown solicitor (similar to a district attorney in the U.S.) and senior police on Friday (Nov. 7).

AC/DC Tour Still On After Phil Rudd's Arrest

The "hitman" charge was laid by police without consulting the crown solicitor, Mabey said.

"The charge alleging an Attempt to Procure Murder should never have been laid. The Crown Solicitor's opinion was not sought. The charge is now withdrawn -- within 24 hours of Mr Rudd's first appearance in Court," Mabey said in a statement.

The other charges of threatening to kill and possession of methamphetamines and cannabis remain. Rudd will defend the charge of threatening to kill, Mabey said, adding that the drug possession charges are minor.

Rudd was arrested at his home in Tauranga, New Zealand, on Thursday morning and received bail following a court appearance on Thursday afternoon local time.

In the statement, Mabey said Rudd had suffered "incalculable" damage to his reputation.

"Mr. Rudd has suffered unnecessary and extremely damaging publicity as a result of widespread and sensational reporting of a very serious allegation, which on any basis was never justified."

He added that Rudd is considering any possible remedies he may have.

Rudd remains out on bail until his next court appearance on Nov. 27.

AC/DC said in a statement Friday, following Rudd's arrest, that "Phil's absence will not affect the release of our new album Rock or Bust and upcoming tour next year."