By Peter N Henderson
TORONTO (Reuters) - Beleaguered Toronto Mayor Rob Ford won a legal victory on Thursday when Canada's top court refused to hear an appeal of a conflict-of-interest case that could have ousted him from office.
The case is unrelated to reports by two media outlets last month that Ford had been caught smoking crack cocaine on camera, allegations that he has strongly denied.
The conflict-of-interest case involved Ford's vote at city council to scrap a C$3,150 ($3,100) penalty imposed on him for accepting donations of the same amount for his football foundation from lobbyists.
An Ontario judge ruled last November that that vote made him guilty of breaking conflict-of-interest laws, and ordered Ford out of office. He was allowed to stay on the job while he appealed, however, and he won the appeal in January.
The Supreme Court of Canada declined on Thursday to hear an appeal of that decision, without specifying reasons.
Ford remains under intense scrutiny after U.S. media outlet Gawker and the Toronto Star both reported last month that their reporters had seen a cellphone video that appears to show him using crack cocaine.
Ford has repeatedly denied the allegations and Reuters cannot confirm the existence of the video or its content.
A defiant Ford has said he will not step aside and plans to run in the next election. Polls show Ford still has support from a sizeable minority of Toronto voters who like his platform of controlling spending and cutting taxes, along the lines of the populist Tea Party movement in the United States.
(Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Peter Galloway)