Judge rules $560M Powerball victor can remain anonymous

Judge rules $560M Powerball victor can remain anonymous

Cashiers Kathy Robinson, left, and Ethel Kroska, right, both of Merrimack, N.H., sell a lottery ticket at Reeds Ferry Market convenience store in Merrimack on January 7, 2018.

The mystery woman who won the almost $560 million Powerball jackpot in New Hampshire two months ago can remain anonymous, according to a Granite State judge who found her right to privacy outweighs any public interest in her identity.

Temple found there was "no evidence" the New Hampshire State Lottery Commission was engaged in fraudulent activity, noting the drawing takes place in Florida.

Doe, Temple noted, had "met her burden of showing that her privacy interest in the nondisclosure of her name outweighs the public interest in the disclosure of her name".

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.

Billy Shaheen, a lawyer for the New Hampshire victor, who was described in court papers only as Jane Doe, said that his client was elated to hear the news.

"Her word to me was that she is ecstatic about the court's decision", said Gordon, who co-founded the high-powered Shaheen & Gordon law firm with Bill Shaheen, a former USA attorney in New Hampshire and husband of Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

Should her identity be revealed, "she will be subject to an alarming amount of harassment, solicitation and other unwanted communications", Judge Charles Temple of the Hillsborough Superior Court Southern District wrote in a 15-page decision.

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Shaheen's law firm, Shaheen & Gordon, P.A., said the woman made a "huge mistake" signing her real name on the back of the ticket before contacting them or placing the money in a trust fund that would have allowed her to stay anonymous.

The victor will collect a lump sum of about $358 million, before subtracting for taxes, according to the New Hampshire Lottery.

"While we were expecting a different outcome and believed the state had a strong argument, we respect the court's decision", said a statement from the New Hampshire Lottery.

The judge also rejected the lottery commission's argument that the woman's name should be revealed to assure the public she was a "bona fide" lottery participant and "real" victor.

The payout netted Doe $264 million after taxes, and her lawyers announced a combined $250,000 contribution from the trust to Girls Inc. of New Hampshire and three chapters of End 68 Hours of Hunger.

The commission says it will consult with the attorney general's office to determine what to do next regarding the case.

Doe has pledged to donate around $25 million to $50 million of the largess to charity over time.

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