In less than a week, "America's Got Talent" singer Timothy Michael Poe has gone from two standing ovations and national acclaim to daily headlines about discrepancies in his military record. The Minnesota National Guard says it has no record of the injury he claims, his own squad leader has called him a liar, a photo he claimed was himself has been revealed to be another soldier, and even his stutter has been questioned.
But despite all that, "America's Got Talent" judge Howie Mandel told TMZ.com that he doesn't think Poe will be disqualified from the NBC show, and will be allowed to continue performing.
"I was blown away that I was totally taken in," Mandel told TMZ. "I'm really angry with the guy."
"AGT" judge Howard Stern spoke out against Poe on his radio show early in the week, but on Wednesday, tweeted, "Waiting to get the facts. If true I'm disgusted."
Mandel may think Poe will continue, but unnamed show sources tell TMZ that producers are considering editing Poe out of the upcoming Las Vegas show.
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On the show, Poe said he was injured in a grenade blast in Afghanistan, breaking his back and acquiring a stutter. He later told the You Served military-themed podcast that he actually broke his back before ever serving in Afghanistan and rebroke it at some time, but isn't sure if it was at the time of the blast.
WFAA-TV in Dallas interviewed Poe before his "AGT" episode ever aired, and he told them at the time that he served in Iraq as well as Afghanistan and said he was shot in a leg during an attack in Iraq in 2005.
But the Minnesota National Guard, whose spokesman said earlier that it had no record of Poe being injured by a grenade in Afghanistan, spoke out again Thursday and said it had no record of Poe ever serving or being injured in Iraq.
Lt. Col Kevin Olson said Poe was injured in Indiana before deploying for Afghanistan, where he served for a month before being medically evacuated to Germany. The Guard records also show Poe training for Iraq, but never being sent there due to a medical issue, Olson said.
Poe's fiancee, Carrie Morris, who appeared on the show with him, called in to the Texas-based Joe Pagliarulo radio show to defend Poe.
She told Pagliarulo that Poe mistakenly submitted a photo of Staff Sgt. Norman Bone instead of himself because "(show producers) were rushing him for pictures," and said "I do not know how the (photo of Bone) got on our desktop," mentioning that two children and her elderly father use the same computer and may have downloaded it.
Morris has also released some of Poe's medical records to media outlets. However, as military vets and active-duty soldiers at the This Ain't Hell blog point out, the only mention of a grenade blast in those records comes from Poe himself, not from other witnesses or military personnel.
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