Bill Cosby accuser Andrea Constand enters courtroom

The first witness in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial said on Monday that the comedian insisted on giving her a white pill to help her "relax" and that she later lost consciousness and was partially clothed when she awoke.

Constand, an athletic 6-footer with dark curly hair, was calm and collected as she testified, looking at the jury as she began describing the assault.

Over the next 16 months, they formed a friendship that turned into a mentorship, Constand said.

Then, Constand said, Cosby placed her hand on his penis and made her stroke it.

Cosby's lawyer argued that Johnson was seeking a payout from the TV star. Constand is expected to testify later in the week.

A former Temple University employee, Constand said Cosby had taken her under his wing and approached her as a mentor - only to later invite her over to his Cheltenham house, offer her drugs, and take advantage of her when she could not resist. "We took photographs and chatted for a while", Sewell said. Cosby led her to the couch, and the next thing she said she remembers is feeling Cosby behind her, groping her and guiding her hand to his genitals. Bernard showed up to the courthouse in support of Constand who has a pink Gladiola tattooed on her arm.

The statute of limitations for prosecuting Cosby had run out in almost every case.

Sewell told jurors that after Cosby forced Johnson to swallow a pill and made her fondle him inside his Bel-Air Hotel room, her daughter became "anxious, depressed, sad". "And she had gotten semi-unconscious because of whatever she had taken, and that he had exposed himself to her and taken some of her clothing off".

"Trust, betrayal and the inability to consent - that's what this case is about", Feden said, as Cosby listened a few feet away, brows furrowed.

The AP does not typically identify people who say they are sexual assault victims unless they grant permission, which Johnson has done.

"It was really important for me to show my support to Mr. Cosby".

Cosby is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Constand at his home outside Philadelphia in 2004.

Cosby says he gave Constand Benadryl to relieve stress, insists their sexual relations were consensual and accuses her of lying. Prosecutors hope her testimony will show that Cosby had a pattern of assaulting women after befriending them. He was not charged with any crimes at the time, but he did settle a civil suit with her out of court in 2006.

"She was crying and she said 'Mommy, something's going on".

Knight Pulliam - who arrived with Cosby early in the morning and helped guide him to the courthouse from his vehicle - said she's praying for all parties involved.

The prosecution's opening witness was not the person Cosby is charged with violating, but another woman, who broke down in tears as she testified that the comedian abused her in the mid-1990s at a hotel bungalow in Los Angeles.

"I was trying to say something", she said. "She had very little social life".

Miller paused before asking District Attorney Kevin Steele, "How detailed do you want me to be?"

According to the actress, she will "accept whatever verdict" the jury decides and believes they will make the appropriate decision.

Judge Steven O'Neill allowed the prosecution to bring Sewell to the stand to corroborate parts of Johnson's testimony given Monday, over the objections of Cosby's defense team.

Cosby attorney Brian McMonagle countered by attacking what he said were inconsistencies in Constand's story.

Sewell told the jury - made up of seven men and five women from Allegheny County - that her daughter called her "distraught" after the alleged incident, saying she feared for her job.

Constand, 44, of the Toronto area, is expected to take the stand this week and tell her story in public for the first time.

The defense tried to insinuate that Sewell, soft-spoken and at times tearful, had crafted her testimony to help her daughter.

Cosby smiled but said nothing when someone asked how he was feeling.

  • Salvatore Jensen