KEANSBURG, N.J. - Chris Christie said yesterday that it was a mistake to speed through Lambertville in 2005 in an unregistered vehicle with his wife and children, but he insisted he did not use his position as U.S. attorney to cut a deal on three traffic tickets.

The Republican candidate for governor and former federal prosecutor said at a campaign event in Keansburg that the traffic stop was insignificant. The tickets were first reported Wednesday by Millennium Radio News.

Christie was driving with his family and colleague Michele Brown when he was pulled over for driving 58 m.p.h. in a 40-m.p.h. zone. He also was ticketed for not having insurance or registration. The car belonged to his wife and was insured, but the registration had lapsed.

Christie said that he had not identified himself as the U.S. attorney, but that a tow truck driver had recognized him. He was allowed to drive home to Mendham, about 44 miles away, because his four children were in the car, not because of his position, he said.

Christie, trying to unseat Gov. Corzine, pleaded guilty to downgraded charges and paid $700 in fines.

"You make mistakes, you speed, you get caught. I don't think this is groundbreaking stuff," Christie said.

Some of his comments yesterday contradicted earlier accounts. Lambertville Police Director Bruce Cocuzza had reported that Christie got loud during the stop, but Christie described his demeanor only as "affirmative."

Christie also denied a report that Brown had gotten out of the car during the stop and flashed her badge. She resigned as first assistant U.S. attorney Tuesday after it was revealed that Christie had lent her $46,000.