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AC/DC’s Phil Rudd Charged With Attempting to Hire a Hitman to Kill Two Men

Phil Rudd
Joel Ford, Getty Images

Update 1 (11/5 11:30 PM ET): This story has been updated with new information about the case.

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has been charged with attempting to hire a hitman* to kill two men. An extremely gaunt and haggard-looking Rudd appeared in Tauranga District Court in New Zealand Thursday afternoon local time to face charges of attempting to procure a murder, possession of methamphetamine, possession of cannabis and threatening to kill.

*Update 2 (11/7) – The procuring-murder charge against Rudd has been dropped. Two other charges remain. Details here.

According to Stuff.co.nz, the shocking charges were brought after police raided Rudd’s home in Mauta, New Zealand, earlier today. The identities of the two men Rudd was allegedly was attempting to have murdered has not been revealed. Rudd was released on bail after offering no plea, and is set to reappear in court in three weeks. He refused to comment while leaving the building.

Rudd was conspicuously missing from the simultaneous filming of two videos for AC/DC’s upcoming album, ‘Rock or Bust,’ as well as from a publicity photo the band posted on its Facebook page last month. His absence — attributed to a “family emergency” at the time by singer Brian Johnson — prompted speculation that Rudd’s status in the group was in jeopardy.

AC/DC is already dealing with the recent departure of founding rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, who has been diagnosed with dementia. We will have more updates on this breaking story as they become available.

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