Judge: $560M lotto winner's name is confidential, but hometown is public info

Judge Charles Temple listens to attorney Steven M. Gordon who represents lottery winner

A New Hampshire judge ruled the woman who won a $559.7 million Powerball jackpot prize can maintain her anonymity despite a state law stating winners must reveal their full name and hometown.

The court found that "disclosure of Ms. Doe's name would constitute [an] invasion of privacy", and moved to block her name from being disclosed in any right-to-know request.

After Jane Doe realized she had won, the victor filled in the back of the ticket, then contacted lawyers who told her that a trustee of a trust could collect the prize and she could remain anonymous.

He ruled that disclosing the name of the victor "would constitute an invasion of privacy" under state law, and that it therefore qualifies as an exemption from the state's right-to-know law, according to The Union Leader.

He did rule, however, that the woman's hometown can be publicly released, as it was "highly unlikely" that the woman could be identified as the victor exclusively based on her hometown.

The commission already allows winners to sign their tickets with the name of a trust instead of the individual's name, the judge noted, in essence allowing winners to be anonymous.

"The Court therefore has no difficulty finding that [the woman] would also be subject to similar solicitation and harassment if her identity were disclosed", Temple wrote. The Attorney General's Office didn't immediately return a call to see if it will appeal the judge's ruling.

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She learned from attorneys subsequently, however, that New Hampshire would in turn treat her right to privacy as forfeited under the state's Right to Know law.

Jane Doe bought the winning ticket January 6 at Reeds Ferry Market in Merrimack.

The judge had already ruled last month that the victor could start collecting funds while remaining anonymous as the issue played out in court.

"While we were expecting a different outcome and believed the state had a strong argument, we respect the court's decision", Charlie McIntyre, commission executive director, said in a statement. He ruled, however, that her hometown can be released publicly.

"If I told you she was ecstatic it would be an understatement", Shaheen said in an email to CNNMoney.

Once taxes were deducted last week, Doe's trust collected more than $264 million.

The woman who was described as an "engaged community member" plans to donate $150,000 to Girls Inc. and $33,000 each to three New Hampshire chapters of End 68 Hours of Hunger.

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