Does the phrase "corruptly obstructing an official proceeding" mean "dishonestly obstructing an official proceeding"? The collocation of "corruptly" and "obstructing" sounds odd to me. I simply understand the phrase as "illegally obstructing an official proceeding", not knowing whether I am correct or not.

The Proud Boys’ anger toward Mr. Trump has heightened after he did nothing to help those in the group who face legal action for the Capitol violence. On Wednesday, a Proud Boy leader, Joseph Biggs, 37, was arrested in Florida and charged with unlawful entry and corruptly obstructing an official proceeding in the riot. At least four other members of the group also face charges stemming from the attack.

Source: NYTimes ‘A Total Failure’: The Proud Boys Now Mock Trump

1 Answer 1


“Corruptly” means “with corruption,” not necessary “illegally” (but it does often imply it).

I am not a lawyer, but it appears that “corruptly” is misused here, as the accused does not hold a position of power that can be corrupted: he is just an ordinary guy. At the same time, “corruption” can mean degradation e.g. “moral corruption”.

“Obstructing” means “getting in the way of,” and in some legal contexts “Obstruction of [something]” is a crime.

Some would argue campaign finance laws allow for “corruption,” but by definition, this is not illegal. At the same time, there are legal definitions of corruption as a crime, where it is always illegal.

Here it is either part of the legal jargon the accused has been charged with (and is illegal), or it is an editorial on the part of the author, saying that what he did was morally wrong.

Either way, your interpretation is essentially correct.

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