NASHUA, N.H. - Lawyers for the woman who won more than half a billion dollars in the New Hampshire Powerball say she's under a great deal of stress as she tries to remain anonymous while claiming her prize.
Ten square inches - worth more than half a billion dollars - brought an army of attorneys to Hillsborough Superior Court Tuesday.
At issue - whether the winning Powerball ticket, signed by the woman last month, will be made public.
Attorney for “Jane Doe” says his client is in a Catch 22; she has the winning ticket but can’t redeem it over privacy, safety concerns @boston25— Kathryn Burcham (@kathrynburcham) February 13, 2018
"This ticket is the most valuable piece of paper on the planet earth, it’s more valuable than a Rembrandt, more valuable than the us constitution, it just is," said Charlie McIntyre, NH Lottery Commission Executive Director.
Attorneys say the woman, a Southern New Hampshire resident, is still working, but is burdened by the intense stress accompanying her win - and concerns about her safety.
"She was very upset because she didn’t know that she lost her right of anonymity by signing the ticket," said her attorney William Shaheen.
"People would sit outside her home, watch her go in, go out, identify who her friends are, who her family is," said her attorney Steve Gordon.
In court, her attorneys asked the judge to allow them to cash the ticket under a trust, The Good Karma Family Trust, and white out the winners name on the back of the ticket.
Attorney for winner references harassment to store owner, Sam Safa, who write an affidavit about how strangers have hounded him for cash after selling the winning ticket @boston25— Kathryn Burcham (@kathrynburcham) February 13, 2018
Lawyer for NH Lottery says winners aren’t “proactively put forth” for publicity - they wouldn’t force Jane Doe to do an event or publish her name on the website— Kathryn Burcham (@kathrynburcham) February 13, 2018
“When someone wins $560 million, the public has a right to know that that was a real winner.”— Kathryn Burcham (@kathrynburcham) February 13, 2018
Attorneys for Jane Doe say they’ve already created “The Good Karma Family Trust” for the winner in hopes the court will release the money @boston25— Kathryn Burcham (@kathrynburcham) February 13, 2018
Lottery attorney says if there are questions, “disclosure should be the default,” suggests any changes should be done by the legislature, not the courts— Kathryn Burcham (@kathrynburcham) February 13, 2018
"We feel that our obligation under the law is to disclose this information," said Asst. Attorney General John Conforti.
New Hampshire lottery officials say the law is clear and that the woman should have sought legal advice before signing the ticket, but the woman's lawyers say the ticket itself doesn't disclose that advice and that with every legal delay, she's losing thousands of dollars a day in interest.
"It may go all the way to the Supreme Court, meanwhile this money is just sitting there, doing nothing for nobody," said Shaheen.
Her attorneys say instead, the money could be going to charity - and that the woman wants to remain anonymous so she can give from the heart.
"She's gonna do some great stuff with this money," said Shaheen.
It is now up to the judge to decide what will be done.
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