BALTIMORE — A woman who has claimed to have Maryland's winning Mega Millions ticket appeared with an attorney Wednesday asking to be left alone, though the news conference raised more questions than it answered.
Attorney Edward Smith Jr. said he didn't know if his client, Mirlande Wilson, has the winning ticket worth $218 million before taxes. Maryland Lottery officials say no one has claimed the record jackpot, but they plan their own news conference Thursday.
Smith said at some point they would make a claim for the prize and he was preparing for possible challenges to it. Wilson's co-workers at a McDonald's restaurant claim she was part of a group pool and she is trying to take all the winnings.
In the meantime, Smith asked that the media "go home" and allow Wilson and her family some privacy. Smith said that the attention of media hanging around Wilson's rowhouse in south Baltimore caused her blood pressure to spike and has kept her seven children from playing outside.
"She wanted to remain anonymous. She still wants to go back to her life and be anonymous," Smith said. "Let's be human about this. It's just money, people."
Media peppered Smith with questions, but he said he could answer few of them. When asked about a New York Post report that Wilson hid her ticket inside the McDonald's, the attorney repeated that he does not know where it is.
Since the drawing, Wilson has given varying accounts to media, saying alternately that she had won and that she wasn't sure. At the news conference, Wilson said little, only confirming that she is originally from a village in Haiti.
Smith said Wilson had been thrust into the spotlight by a story about her co-workers' accusations.
"Obviously, there's going to be a challenge. That's how all this started," Smith said. "I'm assuming somebody dropped a dime on her. But for that, none of this would be happening."