- "Mr. Rudd has suffered unnecessary and extremely damaging publicity," lawyer says
- Prosecutors decide there isn't enough evidence for an "attempting to procure murder" charge
- The AC/DC drummer is still charged with drug possession, threatening to kill
A New Zealand police charge of "attempting to procure murder" against AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has been dropped, his lawyer said.
Rudd, the 60-year-old drummer for the legendary hard rock band, had been accused of trying to have two men killed. But the Crown Solicitor decided there wasn't enough evidence to justify it, attorney Paul Mabey said in a statement.
"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 The charge is now withdrawn, within 24 hours of Mr.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. "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."
Rudd still faces other charges, including threatening to kill, Mabey said.
"Mr. Rudd will defend the charge of threatening to kill. Charges relating to personal possession of drugs are minor," he said.
Police searched Rudd's waterfront home in Tauranga on Thursday morning, TVNZ reported.
The Australian-born drummer moved to New Zealand in 1983, after being sacked by the group. He rejoined the band years later.
AC/DC is one of the world's biggest-selling musical acts, and in 2003 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The band's latest album, "Rock or Bust," is scheduled for release December 2.
In a statement Thursday, the band said Rudd's absence wouldn't affect the album's release or a tour scheduled for next year.
"We've only become aware of Phil's arrest as the news was breaking," the statement said. "We have no further comment."