AC/DC Drummer Phil Rudd Court Cast: Rocker Pleads Not Guilty to Threatening to Kill & Drug Charges

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of threatening to kill and possession of drugs, media said.

Rudd, 60, who has been on bail since his arrest early last month, was excused from appearing in Tauranga District Court and his plea was entered by his lawyer.

The threatening to kill charge carries a maximum sentence of seven years in jail.

An original charge of trying to procure murder was withdrawn because of a lack of evidence by a New Zealand government prosecutor a day after the charges were laid.

Rudd remains on bail, with a procedural hearing set down for February next year.

The Australian-born Rudd has lived in the seaside city of Tauranga, about 200 km (125 miles) southeast of Auckland, since he was sacked from the heavy metal band in 1983.

He rejoined in 1994, but has remained in New Zealand, where he owns a restaurant.

AC/DC released its first album in more than five years - Rock or Bust - on Monday.

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