Rush Guitarist Charged

Alex Lifeson faces assault accusations

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After two rescheduled arraignments, Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson (born Alex Zivojinovich) was charged yesterday with two felony counts of battery on a law enforcement officer in Naples, Florida.

The charges stem from a New Year's Eve incident during a show at the Naples Ritz-Carlton. Lifeson's son Justin Zivojinovich was standing on the side of the stage while another group played when security ushered him away. Lifeson tried to intervene and allegedly pushed a deputy down a stairwell and spat on another.

Lifeson was arrested and upon his release an oft-published photograph of the guitarist captured him in a blood-stained shirt, which he told reporters was the result of a broken nose he suffered during the fracas. Six assault counts were initially filed, before prosecutors settled on the pair, each of which could carry a maximum of five years in prison. Lifeson's son and wife were also hit with lesser charges of resisting with violence and resisting arrest.

There is no word yet as to whether Lifeson's case will affect the band's touring plans. To celebrate their thirtieth anniversary, Rush have lined up a massive tour to launch May 26th in Nashville. North American dates run into late August, followed by a September tour of Europe.