It may be too little too late, but Andersen lawyers have been busy this week hammering out a deal with prosecutors that forces the firm to admit guilt in shredding Enron-related documents, but allows it to avoid a criminal trial -- or declare bankruptcy.

According to a consultant familiar with the negotiations, Andersen is ready to admit that it criminally shredded documents related to its audit of Enron and will help the Justice Department build a case against Enron executives.

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