Military says America’s Got Talent’s Tim Poe wasn’t injured in Afghanistan

America’s Got Talent auditioner Tim Poe, a singer from San Antonio, said he was injured by a grenade in Afghanistan and suffered a brain injury. But the military said there’s no record of him being injured while he was in Afghanistan for a month. On the show, he received a standing ovation and was sent to Las Vegas; Howie Mandel called him “a phenomenal talent” and Howard Stern said, “I don’t know what to say to a hero like you.”

“I spent 14 years in the military but my career was ended in 2009,” Timothy Michael Poe told the judges before singing a country song. “I had got hit by a grenade in Afghanistan and it broke my back and gave me a brain inury, so that’s the reason why I stutter a little bit.” He explained more in an emotional clip package (watch below).

A spokesman for the Minnesota National Guard told The AP that’s not 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. … We looked very closely at his record. We did not find something to substantiate what he said.”

Update: On his show this morning, Howard said, “Did you read that he is a complete fraud? It was a total scam,” and added, “How the fuck did he do this with a straight face?”

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Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 37, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.