'America's Got Talent' contestant Timothy Michael Poe may have lied about service record, stole photo of soldier
One of the contestants on America's Got Talent has made a big splash in more ways than one, when obviously talented country singer Timothy Michael Poe was accused of lying about his service record and combat injuries during his Monday appearance on the show. That was started by his ex-wife, but what's worse is another solider is now saying the San Antonio native took a photo of the soldier and passed it off as himself in the audition.
Poe said during his appearance that he developed a stutter after 14 years in the Army after he was wounded by a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan in 2009.
"I had volunteered for a team to go out and clear buildings and help out with the wounded," Poe told Howie Mandel, Howard Stern and Sharon Osbourne on the show (watch it on the jump). "There was a guy who comes up with a rocket-propelled grenade. I saw it coming down, and by the time I turned and went to jump on top of my guys, I yelled 'grenade' and the blast had hit me." He said he suiffered a broken back and a brain injury, and was told by a speech therapist to sing in the shower to work on his stutter; that twangy croon was the result.
Numerous sources have been calling him out on that, saying there is no record of Poe being wounded by a grenade, or doing many of the other things he claimed, like being shot in the leg in Iraq back in 2005, as a Dallas TV station reported last month. According to records, he served as a supply specialist with the Minnesota Army National Guard from December 2002 to May 2011, and was deployed in Kosovo from October 2007 to July 2008. He was in Afghanistan for a month in 2009.
"Sgt. Poe's official military records do not indicate that he was injured by a grenade in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, as he reports," Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, a Minnesota National Guard spokesman, told the AP. "We looked very closely at his record. We did not find something to substantiate what he said."
As far as going to Iraq is concerned, he never even deployed there: "Records indicate that Mr. Poe was mobilized to deploy to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. He reported to Camp Shelby, Miss., on Sept. 18, 2005 for pre-mobilization training, but ultimately did not deploy due to a medical condition,” a statement to the San Antonio Express-News from the unit read. "There is no official record that Mr. Poe deployed to Iraq and sustained injuries in combat, as he has reported."
Also shocking is an allegation by Army Staff Sgt. Norman Bone, who says one of the photos used as wallpaper during Poe's segment was actually of him (see top). Bone, who is serving in El Paso, Texas, said his ex-wife alerted him to the photo's usage, so he watched the clip online. It was the same photo of Bone serving in Afghanistan in 2006, which is available for download on the Department of Defense website.
"First thing that came to my mind was 'Why would this lying son of a bitch do this?'" Bone told TMZ. "I'm absolutely furious. Been seeing red all day."
The site says Poe continued to defend his story as true, saying a lack of reports of injuries is common in the Army, and that he was treated in Afghanistan before being moved to a hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, and finally Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. Of course, he didn't respond to the photo allegations and didn't produce any paperwork to support the story, either.
The AP says FremantleMedia North America and Syco Television didn't conduct background checks on any of the 4,000 or so contestants for the show, saying they only check the top 48 picked in April in Las Vegas. Poe was among about 100 sent to Vegas to try out for the top 48, but NBC won't reveal if he has advanced. And why would they? Now everyone will want to watch to see if he gets picked. Ratings bonanza!