Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Judge Rules Powerball Winner 'Jane Doe' Can Remain Anonymous

Judge Rules Powerball Winner 'Jane Doe' Can Remain Anonymous

The winning ticket was sold at Reed's Ferry Market in Merrimack, N.H., for the January 6 drawing.

A Powerball victor is allowed to stay anonymous while collecting her $560 million jackpot, a New Hampshire judge ruled on Monday.

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.

Judge Charles Temple said in a ruling Monday that disclosing the woman's name would be an invasion of privacy.

Doe, Temple wrote, has "met her burden" showing her privacy interest outweighs the public's interest in the release of her name.

"The Court has no doubts whatsoever that should Ms. Doe's identity be revealed, she will be subject to an alarming amount of harassment, solicitation and unwanted communications", the judge's resolution states.

However, Temple added that nothing in his order could be interpreted to prevent the lottery commission or its employees from "processing, maintaining, or accessing Ms. Doe's ticket in the normal course of business".

"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 U.S. attorney in New Hampshire and husband of Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

The woman signed her ticket after the drawing, but later learned from lawyers that she could have shielded her identity by writing the name of a trust.

Steven M. Gordon, a lawyer for Doe, said Monday in a phone interview that his client welcomed the ruling.

Release of winners' names provides transparency and assures the public that they aren't associated with the lottery, the office said. The firm said she made a "huge mistake" when she signed her real name on the back of the ticket before contacting them.

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.

She has since set up the Good Karma Trust of 2018 and intends to give some of her money to charities, including Girls Inc and End 68 Hours of Hunger.

The woman is collecting a lump-sum cash prize of $352 million, which will get whittled down to $264 million after taxes.

"We remind players to always play responsibly, regardless of jackpot levels", said Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko. It is the first of what her lawyers said would be donations over the years of between $25 million to $50 million during her lifetime.

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