Troubles continue to pile up for Timothy Michael Poe, the U.S. Army veteran whose successful singing audition was shown on NBC's "America's Got Talent" Monday night.
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When the segment about Poe ran on the show, photos were shown supposedly illustrating Poe's time in Afghanistan. But the main photo, of a helmeted soldier toting an M4 carbine in front of mountainous terrain, wasn't Poe at all. It was Staff Sgt. Norman Bone, and it was indeed taken in Afghanistan, but in 2006 -- Poe's time in Afghanistan was one month in 2009.
Poe himself provided the photo of Bone to "America's Got Talent," the show confirmed to TODAY.com.
"We sincerely apologize to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Norman Bone for using a photo of him in our story on Tim Poe," the show's producers, FremantleMedia, said in a statement. "It was supplied to us by Tim and used on the show in good faith. It has now been removed and will not be used again."
The photo of Bone is downloadable from the U.S. Department of Defense website, but it is not clear why Poe had the photo or why he submitted it instead of one of him.
In a lengthy interview with the You Served military podcast on Tuesday night, Poe admitted that he had in the past claimed medals he did not earn, and was unable to explain why the Minnesota National Guard says it has no record of him being injured by a grenade in Afghanistan.
Current and former military members on the This Ain't Hell blog were quick to point out that details of the body armor, vehicle and other details from the photo didn't match those used by the Army during the time Poe served in Afghanistan.
TMZ.com used the photo on Thursday with a caption identifying it as Poe, then retracted that caption and posted quotes from an interview with Bone, the real soldier shown in the image.
"First thing that came to my mind was 'Why would this lying (expletive) do this?'" Bone told TMZ. He added, "I'm absolutely furious. Been seeing red all day."
FremantleMedia confirmed to TODAY.com that they do not perform background checks on "America's Got Talent" contestants until they make it to the Top 48, and would not say how far Poe had progressed in the competition.
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