It was better than a mug shot.
A video of rioters pouring out the door after breaching the nation’s Capitol in January was all it took for colleagues at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services to say they’d spotted one of their managers.
Acting on that tip from a co-worker, the FBI built a criminal case against Lois Lynn McNicoll, 69, of San Clemente on federal charges of knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
News footage appears to show the veteran county employee leaving the Capitol along with a line of jubilant protesters after the violent takeover on Jan. 6, which saw dozens of police officers injured and left five people dead. More than 532 people have been charged with a slew of federal crimes.
According to an FBI agent’s affidavit, McNicoll is seen wearing a white “Trump” hat inside the Capitol. The video from Capitol’s closed-circuit TV system apparently shows her carrying a red-and-white flag bearing the words “Trump Country” draped over her shoulders after she entered the building. During her time inside, she took out what appeared to be a cellphone and recorded videos and took photos, according to the affidavit.
McNicoll told the FBI agent in an interview that she traveled to the District of Columbia to hear then-President Trump speak on the morning of Jan. 6. She admitted she “marched to the Capitol with a large group, walking up the stairs of the Capitol building and entering through doors that had already been forced open,” according to the affidavit.
The social services manager, however, denied taking any photos or video while inside the Capitol, according to the affidavit. The agent in the affidavit alleges that the statement is inconsistent with images from Capitol CCTV.
She is the latest Southern Californian to get swept up by the FBI as agents sift through thousands of videos and other pieces of evidence seeking to identify the hundreds of people who breached the Capitol, forcing lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence to flee.
This month, two Orange County extremists — a former police chief and his partner in organizing Stop the Steal rallies — were indicted along with members of the Three Percenters militia in connection to the insurrection. Alan Hostetter, former chief of the La Habra Police Department, faces multiple charges along with fellow Californians Russell Taylor, Erik Scott Warner, Felipe Antonio “Tony” Martinez, Derek Kinnison and Ronald Mele.
Orange County has become a hotbed of extremist activity in the last year. The Capitol riot came after a year of right-wing protests in the county that spiraled into increasingly violent language against ever-larger foes. It began with protests and outlandish conspiracies about COVID-19 restrictions, including a harassment campaign that drove out the county’s top health officer, and rallies to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom and support Trump.
It is unclear whether McNicoll was an active participant in the Stop the Steal events and COVID-19-related protests in the county.