A Democrat from Illinois and a football star from Hancock County shared nationwide headlines in 2008, a year in which the nation’s economy took a nosedive as South Mississippi continued to struggle in recovery from Hurricane Katrina.
The nation elected Barack Obama as its first black president, although a majority of Mississippi voters — 56 percent — supported Sen. John McCain.
The first presidential debate brought the national spotlight to the University of Mississippi, bringing favorable note to the region’s charm and the state’s progress in civil rights. The bright light was in sharp contrast to 1962, when the Kennedy administration sent federal marshals to Ole Miss in the wake of rioting over James Meredith’s quest to become the university’s first black student.
Famed anti-tobacco attorney Dickie Scruggs was sentenced to five years in prison on a guilty plea for attempting to bribe a Mississippi judge with $50,000.
The former Pascagoula lawyer went to prison along with his son, Zach, and Sidney Backstrom, also a partner in his Oxford law firm.
Zach Scruggs received 14 months in prison for knowing about a judicial bribery attempt and not reporting it. Backstrom was sentenced to 28 months in prison.