Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Medical | By Bryan Strickland

Judge rules $500M Powerball victor can stay anonymous

Judge rules $500M Powerball victor can stay anonymous

The woman who won a $560 million jackpot in January, and who prevailed Monday in her fight to keep her name out of the press, lives in Merrimack, N.H., lottery officials confirmed Tuesday.

The mystery woman had a lawsuit filed in New Hampshire Superior Court, asking for a court order that allows her to protect her privacy and keep her prize.

But after speaking with a lawyer, Doe realized she could have maintained her privacy if a trustee had signed the ticket instead.

She was upset after learning she was giving up her anonymity by signing the ticket - something the lottery commission acknowledged isn't spelled out on the ticket, but is detailed on its website.

He ruled that disclosing the name of the victor "would constitute an invasion of privacy" under state law, and that it therefore qualifies as an exemption from the state's right-to-know law, according to The Union Leader.

"Rather, after considering the record and the arguments, the court finds that Ms. Doe has met her burden of showing that her privacy interest in the nondisclosure of her name outweighs the public's interest in the disclosure of her name", Temple wrote. The judge also found that her hometown "must be disclosed pursuant to a Right-to-Know request". He said there was "no evidence" that the New Hampshire Lottery Commission was engaged in corrupt activity and noted that the winning numbers are drawn in Florida anyway.

Temple said that the court has no doubt that if her identity was revealed, she would be subject to harassment, solicitation and other unwanted communication.

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Jane Doe was the 11th Powerball jackpot victor in New Hampshire history, and her massive payout is the biggest in state history.

"While we were expecting a different outcome and believed the state had a strong argument, we respect the court's decision", Charlie McIntyre, commission executive director, said in a statement. "That said, we will consult with the Attorney General's office to determine appropriate next steps regarding the case".

A lawsuit filed by the woman's lawyers says she is an "engaged community member" who wants to go about public life "without being known or targeted as the victor of a half-billion dollars".

"She was jumping up and down", said her lawyer, William Shaheen.

"As in most states, Pennsylvania Lottery winners can not remain anonymous and certain victor information is made public under the state's Open Records law".

Last week, the commission handed over $264 million - the amount left after taxes were deducted - to the woman's lawyers.

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