It seems like reality competitions can't go a season without one (or five) sob stories. America's Got Talent is no exception — and we thought contestant Timothy Michael Poe would be this season's sad-story-turned-happy-story. But, he's likely on his way to disqualification after lying about his military past.
In his intro, Poe told the AGT audience that he suffered brain injuries while serving in Iraq.
"I had volunteered for a team to go out and clear buildings and help out with the wounded," he said. "There was a guy who come 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 added that singing was the only way to get over a speech impediment brought on by his injuries.
"When I was laying there I thought I’d never see my daughter walk down the aisle or throw the baseball with my son or be able to hold them and see them… I didn’t want my life to be over," he said to an enthralled audience, his wife waiting on the side of the stage.
The problem? None of it is true.
"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 spokesman for the Minnesota National Guard, said in a statement.
Poe did serve with the National Guard from December 2002 through May 2011, but he only spent one month in Afghanistan and was never injured. He also never received the Purple Heart as he claimed. Even the sister of his baby mama said the story is a lie.
"He never actually fought in Afghanistan. He did break his back but it was in Georgia when he was in training to go on a deployment. On this particular deployment he landed in Afghanistan, got an ear infection and was medevac'd out to Germany," Katy Edwards said in an e-mail to IBTimes. "While in Germany he refused to go back to the war and was brought back to the United States. His unit lost a soldier that deployment and are incredibly upset by the stories he made up [Monday] night."
No word on what NBC is planning to do about the new allegations — Poe was sent forward by all three judges on Monday night's show, but this would be a huge dark spot for the show. Did he really think people wouldn't check up on claims like this? Lying about military injuries is like spitting in the faces of soldiers who were really injured while fighting for our country.
This just serves as a reminder: Don't lie about your past — it'll always come back to haunt you.
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