‘Sweet Home Oklahoma’ Star Disbarred After Bribing Officers & Defrauding Clients

Feb. 22 2017, Updated 10:08 a.m. ET

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Josh Welch’s substance abuse problem led to the loss of his marriage and job, RadarOnline.com can exclusively reveal.

The Sweet Home Oklahoma star was forced to resign from the Oklahoma state bar in 2012 after he was charged with obstructing an officer from his duties. A local news outlet reported at the time that a man charged with DUI hired an attorney at Josh’s firm to represent him, and he needed help solving an issue over his driver’s license after the case was settled. As a result, Josh attempted to bribe a retired police officer.

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“He admitted to making arrangements to discourage an officer from appearing to testify at a department of Public Safety Hearing concerning the revocation of driving privileges,” according to Supreme Court documents obtained by Radar. “The plea was also entered based upon the attorney’s having created false and fraudulent billings to a client’s account to hide unethical and illegal payments to the officer.”

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“Welch stated he was also aware of a grievance filed against him by Michael Leatherwood, alleging his representation of Leatherwood in a criminal case was adversely affected by Welch being investigated by the same District Attorney’s Office that was prosecuting Leatherwood,” the documents continued.

A judge ordered his name to be “stricken from the roll of attorneys” in October of that year, and ruled that he could not reapply for his license for five years after the order was signed.

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He refused to respond to the court’s cause order and was disbarred in December 2012.

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“My sobriety and family mean more to me than being a lawyer,” he told The Oklahoman in 2012. “The resignation speaks for itself, and I really cannot add anything to it beyond what it says. I accept full responsibility for my actions, and do not blame anyone else for my conduct. I have an enormous amount of regret and remorse about what happened. I look forward to moving on to a new chapter in my life.”

Now, Josh is claiming that he was a top criminal defense attorney at the time, and his substance abuse issues got in the way of practicing law and interfered with his marriage to costar Jennifer Welch.

He is now over a year-and-a-half sober, and is focusing on co-parenting their sons Dylan, 14, and Roman, 10.

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