A lawyer for AC/DC's Phil Rudd pleaded not guilty on behalf of his client to charges of threatening to kill and drug possession Monday at New Zealand's Tauranga District Court. The charges stem from Rudd's November 6th arrest, when the drummer's New Zealand home was raided and Rudd was reportedly found to be in possession of methamphetamine and cannabis. A case review for Rudd was scheduled for February 10th, the New Zealand Herald reports.
Rudd was excused from attending this preliminary hearing. While Rudd was also initially charged with attempting to procure murder, those severe murder-for-hire charges were dropped soon after his arrest.
Given the defendant's public profile, the prosecutor trying Rudd's case asked to suppress all details pertaining to the crimes, including the name of the person Rudd threatened to kill and three witnesses. However, a judge ruled that the information, and the specifics of the charges themselves, should be released as soon as next week, stuff.co.nz writes.
While Rudd readies himself for trial, his AC/DC bandmates are soldiering on without him: "Phil's absence will not affect the release of our new album, Rock or Bust, and upcoming tour next year," the band said in a statement following Rudd's arrest. Their two most recent music videos, for "Play Ball" and "Rock or Bust," have drummer Bob Richards filling in for Rudd, whose future in AC/DC is still in flux. "The drum situation is a question mark," lead guitarist Angus Young recently told Rolling Stone. "But we will definitely be out there."