Mystery NH Powerball victor asks to take winnings before court rules

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Lawyers for a New Hampshire woman who won a $559.7 million Powerball jackpot are appearing before a judge to request that she remain anonymous.

Since then, her lawyers have been deluged with offers from around the world of ideas for how she might get the money and still keep her privacy.

State Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald's office, which is representing the lottery commission, countered with its own filing Monday, arguing that officials must release Doe's name and hometown as they appear on the signed ticket, under New Hampshire public records law.

The jackpot victor has yet to submit her winning ticket to the store from which she bought it because she wants to stay anonymous, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

The commission has seen a copy of ticket and confirmed "it is likely the winning ticket", its lawyers acknowledge in their motion to dismiss Jane Doe's argument for remaining anonymous.

Gordon included biographical information on several people who contacted his firm, the high-powered Shaheen & Gordon group that counts William Shaheen, a former U.S. attorney in New Hampshire and husband of Senator Jeanne Shaheen, among its partners.

A hearing on her fight to collect on her winnings anonymously is scheduled for today in Hillsborough Superior Court in Nashua, N.H.

"We come to the court today in a Catch 22, not of our own making", said attorney Steven Gordon, representing the victor. "She wishes to remain in New Hampshire and give back to the state and community that has given so much to her".

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She is agreeing, as part of the claim process, to have a trustee provide her photo identification and Social Security number to the New Hampshire Lottery Commission on the condition that all her personal information be kept confidential.

Release of the names provides transparency and assures the public that winners aren't associated with the lottery, the office said. If she were to use white out or tamper with it in some way it could lead to a disqualification of the winning ticket.

Cavanaugh said he understands the woman's concerns - he bought a lottery ticket himself over the weekend. Nowhere, they said, does the website advise the victor "that there is an option for a trust to claim a prize". Lawyer Steven Gordon claimed his client loses thousands of dollars a day in interest, but state Lottery Executive Director Charlie McIntyre said the woman might be able to claim her winnings in a few days while the legal questions are sorted out.

A New Hampshire state judge is deciding whether to allow the woman to stay anonymous.

She has created a trust and wants the state to either withhold her name from public disclosure or replace her identifying information with that of the trust.

Imagine winning half a billion dollars in the lottery! Afterwards, she contacted an attorney who advised her that she could have hidden her identity but writing in the name of a trust.

Gordon told the court that this is an extraordinary case, and her interests trump the public's right to know.