Maine’s largest media company is asking a federal judge to unseal documents in a lawsuit filed by the man who won $1.35 billion in the lottery last year.

Maine’s mysterious lottery winner was allowed to sue the mother of his child anonymously in November, further shielding his identity. The lawsuit alleges she violated an agreement not to discuss his winnings, but most of the documents in the case, including her response denying those allegations, have been put under seal.

The Maine Trust for Local News — which owns the Morning Sentinel, Kennebec Journal, Sun Journal, Portland Press Herald and The Times Record, along with 17 weekly publications — filed motions Tuesday to intervene in the case.

Attorneys for the newspapers, Sigmund Schutz, Alexandra Harriman and Eugene Volokh, said they want U.S. District Judge John Woodcock to unseal court records from the lottery winner requesting anonymity, Woodcock’s order approving it, and the lottery winner’s amended complaints.

In the original complaint, one of the case’s only public documents, the winner asked the court to order her to pay him $100,000 in damages.

“The Maine Trust seeks to further educate the public on the details of the case, but it cannot do so while various motions are kept under seal,” the lawyers wrote. “This sealing withholds valuable information from the press and the public about pending litigation and functions as a partial closure of court proceedings and records.”


The man has never had to release his identity. He claimed his prize, more than $723.5 million after taxes in February 2023, using an LLC registered in Delaware.

Woodcock allowed the man to sue as “John Doe” and use the pseudonym “Sara Smith” for his ex-girlfriend. Woodcock’s order outlining why he made his decision is also sealed. The Maine Trust is not yet challenging their ability to use pseudonyms.

The Maine Trust attorneys wrote in the filing that the public has a right to access Woodcock’s orders approving the parties’ anonymity.

Many wealthy people try to conceal the magnitude of their wealth, Schutz wrote, “But they cannot choose to sue over matters related to billion-dollar transactions, and then try to conceal central matters in the litigation – or the legal arguments that they are making in various motions – in the name of keeping their wealth confidential.”

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