Berlin police clear Michael Jackson, rule out investigation. They determine there's no evidence of a punishable offense in Tuesday's baby-dangling incident

By Gary Susman
Updated November 22, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST

Michael Jackson was scheduled to leave Berlin on Friday, and police there won’t be holding him back, even though they said Thursday that they were looking into Tuesday’s baby-dangling incident to determine whether the King of Pop had committed a crime by holding his infant son in one arm above a crowd of fans on the street four stories below his hotel room. ”The police checks show that the actions are not punishable,” police spokesman Norbert Gunkel told the Associated Press on Friday. Berlin prosecutors said that they, too, did not believe a crime had been committed and would not investigate, AP reports.

The day before, police spokeswoman Christine Rother had told Reuters, ”We are examining if there is cause to open an investigation into whether a crime was committed.” She said the police took the initiative to launch the review on their own, although they had received numerous telephone complaints about the incident. She said there would be a full investigation only if the initial review found evidence of ”neglect of duty in respect of care and supervision.”

Jackson, who had issued a public apology over the incident on Wednesday, saying he would never intentionally endanger his kids’ lives, was in Berlin to receive Germany’s Bambi award, in the form of a silver deer statuette, for pop artist of the millennium. (Not to be confused with the treble-clef birthday cake decoration Jackson confused with an artist-of-the-millennium prize at the MTV Video Music Awards in August.) Bond girl Halle Berry stood onstage next to Jackson as she picked up her own Bambi for her Oscar-winning performance last year in ”Monster’s Ball.”

Back home, following in Liza Minnelli’s footsteps, another Jackson pal emerged to defend the King of Pop’s parenting skills. ”Kosher Sex” author Rabbi Shmuley Boteach wrote an article in Friday’s New York Post, saying he’d spent ”countless occasions” with Jackson and his two older kids. ”I can honestly say that he was a model parent, showing his children extraordinary attention and unconditional love,” Boteach wrote. He had not yet met baby Prince Michael II, ”which he very stupidly (but securely) dangled from a Berlin hotel balcony.” Boteach’s only stated concern was that Jackson make sure not to shut out ex-wife Debbie Rowe, mother of Prince Michael I and Paris, from her kids’ childhood.

Jackson is not out of the legal woods yet. Once back in the States, he’ll be on trial again as the $21 million lawsuit filed against him by concert promoter Marcel Avram resumes. On the stand last week, Jackson denied responsibility for the cancellation of two 1999 concerts, saying it was Avram who scrapped the shows.