Jeffrey Toobin returned as CNN’s chief legal analyst after a nearly eight-month absence – and it was “awkward” to say the least.

Toobin, who formerly worked as a staff writer for The New Yorker, was fired last October for inappropriately exposing and masturbating during a Zoom work call.

CNN boss Jeff Zucker was reportedly “concerned” about how viewers would react to seeing the infamous lawyer on-camera again, but he was willing to give it a try.

During his appearance on CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota’s afternoon show on Thursday, Toobin addressed the elephant in the room: “Well, obviously, I wasn’t thinking very well or very much, and it was something that was inexplicable to me. I think one point – I wouldn’t exactly say in my defense, because nothing is really in my defense. I didn’t think I was on the call. I didn’t think other people could see me.”

Though he agreed there was “no defense” for his behavior, Toobin felt his termination was an “extreme punishment.” He also said he was grateful to CNN for allowing him to come back after taking a leave of absence.

“I’m incredibly grateful to CNN for taking me back. But you know, other people are going to weigh in about whether it was appropriate for them to get rid of me and for CNN to keep me,” he said.

Camerota seemed relatively supportive of Toobin’s return, saying “many of us have really missed having your legal analysis.”

Toobin replied: “It is good to be back, and I hope to be a better person off-camera as well as on camera.”

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