An "America's Got Talent" contestant, scrutinized for claims about being injured in Afghanistan, made a mistake when he gave the show a photograph of another soldier and passed it off as himself, the man's fiancee said Thursday.
The NBC series this week and WFAA-TV of Dallas last month used the picture with segments on Timothy Michael Poe, a former Minnesota Army National Guard member who said he suffered a broken back and brain injury in a grenade attack in Afghanistan in 2009. The Guard says military records don't substantiate his claims.
The caption of the original picture on the official military website Defense.gov shows Staff Sgt. Norman Bone serving in Afghanistan in 2006.
Poe has declined multiple requests for comment from the Associated Press this week. But his fiancee, Carrie Morris, said Thursday that Poe accidentally submitted the photo to NBC and the station because he was hurrying and didn't take the time to look at which picture he was sending. She said he probably thought it was the right picture when he sent it to "America's Got Talent" because he already had sent it to WFAA.
Morris said she didn't know where Poe got the picture of Bone but that "he downloads military stuff all the time" and that other people send them pictures as well.
"But I know that it was a mistake on his part. It was an accident. It was a complete accident," Morris said.
Bone declined to comment to the AP when reached on his cellphone Thursday, saying he wanted to consult with legal counsel because he's still on active duty.
NBC referred a call for comment to the show's producer, FremantleMedia North America. In a statement emailed to the AP, FreMantle Media spokesman Neil Schubert apologized to Bone for the photo's misuse. He said it has been removed and won't be used again.
Poe, 35, of San Antonio, told WFAA that he also was wounded while serving in Iraq when his truck got hit by an IED in 2005 -- something the Guard also disputes.
Minnesota Army National Guard spokesman Lt. Col Kevin Olson reiterated Thursday that there were no official records showing Poe ever deployed to Iraq or was injured there.
In the "America's Got Talent" episode that aired Monday, Poe told the celebrity judges that he spent 14 years in the military and was injured in Afghanistan.
It's unclear whether Poe could face any legal action since he is no longer in the military.