Winning the lottery is not all glitter, says attorney for Powerball victor

The sign outside Reeds Ferry Market in Merrimack which sold the $560-million winning ticket

While lawyers for the victor of a $560 million Powerball jackpot headed into a Nashua, N.H., courtroom Tuesday to fight for her privacy, one New Hampshire legislator said he wants to change state law to ensure the anonymity of all winners.

The woman's lawyer has filed a case requesting to keep her anonymous.

State lottery officials say they will proceed in accordance with state law, which says a lottery winner's name, town and prize amount are public information. The problem is that she signed the back of her ticket. "Doe would like to cash her ticket", said attorney Steven Gordon, who represents the victor.

Gordon included biographical information on several people who contacted his firm, the high-powered Shaheen & Gordon group that counts William Shaheen, a former United States attorney in New Hampshire and husband of Senator Jeanne Shaheen, among its partners. Judge Charles Temple took the case under advisement after a short hearing.

"Press reports begat solicitations and proposed "solutions" from all over the world", wrote Steven M. Gordon, an attorney for Doe, in Monday's filing.

The New Hampshire Lottery Commission has requested for the lawsuit to be dismissed citing the state's Right to Know Law. Jane Doe's lawyers said they were already lining up bodyguards.

The state gave little credence to the argument that identifying Jane Doe would jeopardize her safety, saying that any risk could be managed by engaging a security detail.

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He said he doesn't know the identity of the victor but hopes one of the regulars from the over 100-year-old store in Merrimack won the nation's eighth-largest lottery jackpot, Fox News reported.

Gordon argued that the commission has nothing to do with the Powerball game, explaining that it is handled by the Multi-State Lottery Association, and that disclosure of the woman's identity will reveal nothing about the commission's activities.

When Jane Doe realized she had the winning ticket, she followed the instructions on the ticket and on the lottery commission's website to "sign the ticket".

"The lottery ticket is a public document", said New Hampshire Asst. If lawmakers can't help her, they might at least help future winners.

She is likely to get the money soon as her demand to remain anonymous makes its way through the courts, but her attorneys are trying to fast-track the process due to what they say is lost money in interest.

"I don't have discretion", said Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery. "[Doe's] understandable yearning for normalcy after entering a lottery to win hundreds of millions of dollars is not a sufficient basis to shut the public out of the business of the government", State Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald wrote.

However, because the woman has already signed the back of the ticket, she is the rightful victor and even if a trust is established that she is part of, lawyers for the state say only the person who signed the ticket can claim it.

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