The Appellate Division, overturning a lower court, says Thursday the Commission on Public Integrity had statutory authority to subpoena John O'Connor in 2009.
The justices say authority to investigate continued even after the commission found reason to believe there was an ethics violation in hiring then Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno's daughter.
Attorney Joan Sullivan says the case stems from events a decade ago and her client O'Connor left the post two years ago.
A spokesman says the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which replaced the earlier commission, will proceed with the case.
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