"I think it's telling. The reason they didn't do that is they needed to save face," she said.

Karpinski, meanwhile, told the judge the commission members were not unduly partial toward the mayor and their statement amounted to, "In the future, be more careful."

He said there was "substantial evidence that reasonable minds could reach" to support the findings of the commission.

He also said the complainant's political motivations have nothing to do with the hearing and disagreed with Levan's assertion that there was a delay in scheduling a hearing for Bennett. Karpinski said Bennett was notified shortly after the report of the commission's hearing.

The commission has "certainly no obligation" to rescind a decision, he added.

"At the end of the day, after a hearing, the commission did revisit and withdraw two of the three issues," he said.

He also said when one looks at the record and takes out "all the passion and hyperbole," there is "no question" the commission acted reasonably and not capriciously.

Karpinski said newspaper articles quoting Bennett made it clear Bennett wholeheartedly supported Ripken Baseball and there was a core relationship between the mayor and the business.

"This had nothing to do with Aberdeen. This had everything to do with the Ripken Baseball organization leveraging a better deal with the City of Aberdeen," he said.

Whether or not the result was successful, Karpinski said the intent was obviously to benefit Ripken Baseball.

Levan replied that the mayor can absolutely support whoever he wants and if voters don't like it, they can vote him out of office.

"Why would this man go all the way to Augusta if he didn't believe it had something to do with the city?" she said. "He clearly believed it would benefit the city."

Waldron, who had made a handful of half-joking baseball references along the way, noted: "You are addressing a judge wearing an Orioles shirt and Orioles tie."

He told both parties they should not expect his ruling for at least a couple of weeks.