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AC/DC Drummer Pleads Guilty to Threatening to Kill Ex-Employee

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd, right, who pleaded guilty to a charge of threatening to kill a man who used to work for him, arrives at a court in Tauranga, New Zealand, April 21, 2015.

The veteran drummer for the legendary rock band AC/DC pleaded guilty Tuesday in a New Zealand court to threatening to kill an ex-employee.

Phil Rudd faces up to seven years in prison for the charge, which his lawyer said related to an "angry phone call" made last year.

The 60-year-old Rudd also admitted to two less serious charges of possessing marijuana and methamphetamine.

Rudd, who was arrested last November, initially denied all charges against him, but unexpectedly pleaded guilty during the hearing in Tauranga.

Court records show the dispute began in August, when Rudd became unhappy with several people, including the victim, at an event during which his solo album was released.

Four weeks later, Rudd called an associate and told him he wanted the victim "taken out." In exchange, he allegedly offered the associate $153,000, a motorbike, and one of his cars or a house.

Rudd is also said to have later called the victim directly and told him "I'm going to come over and kill you."

Drugs found

When police raided Rudd's home, they found nearly half a gram of methamphetamine and 91 grams of cannabis.

Prosecutors had originally charged Rudd with more serious murder-for-hire charges, but dropped them because of a lack of evidence.

His lawyer, Craig Tuck, said he will seek a solution, known as a discharge without conviction, that will have minimal legal consequences.

Rudd was released on bail. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for late June.

The Australia-born Rudd, who now lives in New Zealand, left AC/DC in 1983, but rejoined the band in 1994. He is not taking part in the band's world tour that starts next month.

AC/DC is one of the highest-grossing bands of all-time, with hit songs that include "Back in Black," "Thunderstruck" and "You Shook Me All Night Long."

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