Judge protects identity of $711M jackpot winner
A JUDGE has ruled that a New Hampshire woman who won a Powerball jackpot worth nearly $712 million (US$560 million) can keep her identity private, but not her hometown.
Judge Charles Temple noted that the case's resolution rested the state's Right-to-Know law, which governs access to public records for the woman.
She was identified as "Jane Doe" in a lawsuit against the New Hampshire Lottery Commission.
"She was jumping up and down," said her lawyer, William Shaheen. "She will be able to live her life normally." Mr Shaheen said the woman is from Merrimack, 40 kilometres south of Concord.
Judge Temple wrote in his ruling that he had "no doubts whatsoever that should Ms Doe's identity be revealed, she will be subject to an alarming amount of harassment, solicitation, and other unwanted communications."
He said she met her burden of showing that her privacy interest outweighs the public's interest in disclosing her name in the nation's eighth-largest jackpot.
However, he noted 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."
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. They said 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.
The woman ended up establishing the Good Karma Family Trust of 2018.
After the taxes are deducted the woman plans to give US$150,000 to Girls Inc. and US$33,000 apiece to three chapters of End 68 Hours of Hunger in the state.
It is the first of what her lawyers said would be donations over the years of between US$25 million to US$50 million during her lifetime.