A Tennessee couple came forward on Friday with what they said was one of the three winning tickets for this week’s record $1.6 billion US Powerball lottery jackpot, appearing with their lawyer on NBC’s ‘Today’ program.
Lisa and John Robinson of Munford, Tennessee, now must present the ticket to Tennessee lottery officials for verification in order to claim their one-third share of the largest lottery prize ever offered in North America. They planned to do that immediately after their appearance in the ‘Today’ show’s New York studio.
The Robinsons said they had reached out to NBC on the advice of their lawyer, Joe Townsend.
“The American public wants to hear from them,” Townsend said. Although the couple wants to return to their private lives afterward, “they want to … let the public know that they’re the winners.”
John Robinson said that although he did not feel well, he bought the ticket at Naifeh’s Food Mart in the Memphis suburb of Munford at his wife’s request on Wednesday night, just hours before the drawing. Tennessee lottery officials confirmed on Thursday that Naifeh’s had sold a winning ticket.
Robinson said he and his wife were excited about their winnings but were “a little scared” about their future.
“Now I’ll be nervous because everybody knows,” he said.
Lisa Robinson said they had not had time to think about what they would do with their winnings but that she planned to return on Monday to her job at a dermatologist’s office.
“We were up all night,” she told NBC. “We didn’t get enough sleep.”
Holders of the Wednesday night drawings’ two other winning tickets, which were sold in California and Florida, have not yet come forward.
Under lottery rules, a winner has up to a year to present a ticket. All three states with winners have laws requiring their names to be released publicly, according to the Powerball website.