sergeant claims he can't release proof of his Afghanistan wounds for 'legal reasons'
A contestant on the show 'America's Got Talent' wowed the judges with his life story, but now that life story is coming under scrutiny, 1200 WOAI's Michael Board has learned.
Sergeant Timothy Poe, from San Antonio, told the NBC show that he suffered a broken back and a brain injury while on duty in Afghanistan.
"I had got hit by a grenade in Afghanistan," Poe told the show, saying he suffered a broken back and a brain injury.
"I'm just happy to be here," Poe told the show in a stuttering voice, and there is no doubt that his story helped gain him points on the show.
"That's why I stutter a little bit," he said.
But Poe's commander in the Minnesota National Guard, Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Olson, disputed Poe's story.
"Many of the soldiers who served with him disputed his claims," Olson told 1200 WOAI news.
Olson says there is no indication that any members of his unit were in the sort of action that Poe describes.
Poe has been very specific about his injuries, describing how he confronted an insurgent with a rocket propelled grenade launcher, and he jumped on top of other members of his unit to protect them, and was wounded at that time.
"If in fact it's true that he mischaracterized his service, that reflects very poorly," Olson said. "That is what is called 'stolen valor'."
A spokeswoman for NBC told 1200 WOAI news the network had no comment.
Poe has been telling his story since he showed up in Austin for auditions for the show. Now he says he can't release documents supporting his claims for legal reasons, and he says he will sue his ex-wife and others who have claimed that his battlefield stories are untrue.
But he claims his experience in Afghanistan went down just as he has claimed.
The so called 'Stolen Valor Act,' which criminalizes making untrue claims about war service, is currently under review by the U.S. Supreme Court. Supporters say people who lie about military valor cheapen and degrade the honorable service of all those who have shows valor under fire. Opponents say the law criminalizes speech, and point out that there is no law against lying. If people unfairly profit through their phony war tales, opponents of the law say there are already crimes n the books to charge them with.