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'America's Got Talent' Contestant Claims He's Not Lying About Combat Injury

June 7, 2012 (2:18 am) GMT
Sgt. Timothy Michael Poe, who said he speaks with a stutter after being hit by a grenade in Afghanistan, even plans to sue those who told the media that he was lying.

After touching the heart of "" viewers with his sob story, Sgt. Timothy Michael Poe found himself in controversy over the validity of his combat injury. The Minnesota National Guard released a statement saying that there are no official records indicating he was injured by a grenade during his service in Afghanistan, but the aspiring singer has now spoken up to defend himself.

To You Served podcast, the 35-year-old claimed the army hadn't updated his file with his medical paperwork that noted his traumatic brain injury. "I called one of the colonels and left a message and said, 'Look I have this paperwork and I want to send this to you because I don't think you have it.' They made a statement without having the facts," so he said.

Insisting that he had the documents to prove his story is legit, Poe stated, "My retirement orders say disability resulted from a combat-related injury." He went on adding, "Until you see the documents, don't judge me."

Revealing what happened after he got injured during his deployment in 2009, Poe shared, "I was sent out of Afghanistan for an ear infection...I had a blast go off by my head and it caused me to...forget things and I would not...I couldn't walk straight and I'd close my eyes and fall over and things like that."

"I don't think that the guys in my unit were told by the sergeant...what really happened and why I had really gone and left," he said of his abrupt departure from the war zone. When asked if there's anyone who could support his story, he said he couldn't remember anyone because he was just joining the unit, but he "wished that they would come out."

During an interview with TMZ, Poe said he couldn't release any pictures or documents to support his claim, citing legal reasons. However, he revealed his plans to sue his ex-wife and several others who told the media he was lying.

Poe shared the story of his war injury during the first day of auditions in Austin, Texas. "I had volunteered for a team to go out and clear buildings and help out with the wounded," he said in a taped segment. "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."

Poe went on saying that he suffered a broken back and a brain injury from the incident. Moreover, he claimed the injury caused his speech impediment.

Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, a spokesman for the Minnesota National Guard, later released a statement that contradicts Poe's story. "Sgt. Poe's official military records do not indicate that he was injured by a grenade in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2009," so the statement read. NBC, meanwhile, remains mum on the matter.

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