Judge Rules Powerball Winner 'Jane Doe' Can Remain Anonymous
Judge Rules Powerball Winner 'Jane Doe' Can Remain Anonymous
The winning ticket was bought in Merrimack. Credit Todd Bookman NHPR
13 March, 2018, 11:48
A judge ruled Monday the woman can keep her identity private because the judge had no doubt that she would suffer an alarming amount of harassment and solicitation.
The New Hampshire Lottery Commission said in a statement it is determining how to respond to the judge's decision that went against its recommendation to name the victor.
Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email. He ruled, however, that her hometown can be released publicly.
Temple wrote, "Given that any [female] person in Ms. Doe's hometown could potentially be the victor, it is highly unlikely that Ms. Doe could be identified as the victor exclusively based on the disclosure of that limited piece of information".
The woman's lawyer William Shaheen said his client "was jumping up and down", following the ruling.
Doe, Gordon said, "had a great deal of stress throughout this process, and this decision was helpful to address some of that stress". The winning ticket was sold at the Reeds Ferry Market in that town for the January 6 drawing.
To verify the lottery winner's legitimacy, the judge wasn't swayed by the commission's claim that there is a strong public interest in disclosing winners' identities so that the public knows "they are bona fide lottery participants" and "real winners".
This option was detailed on the lottery's website but not on the tickets and New Hampshire's lottery rules require the winner's name, town and the winning amount to be public.
The state had argued that the names of lottery winners must be disclosed to ensure that prizes are distributed fairly and that winners are not related to lottery employees. The commission said any adjustment of the ticket would make it invalid. The woman ended up establishing the Good Karma Family Trust of 2018.
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.
Temple ruled that there is no evidence or information suggesting that the Commission has engaged in any corrupt activity.
"With another major winter storm in the forecast, personal and public safety are top priorities", said Michael Sweeney, Executive Director of the Massachusetts State Lottery in a written statement.
The commission says it will consult with the attorney general's office to determine what to do next regarding the case.
Judge Charles Temple listens to arguments during a hearing in the Jane Doe v. NH Lottery Commission case at Hillsborough Superior Court in Nashua, N.H., in February.
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