Suge Knight -- who is currently behind bars for allegedly robbing a paparazzo -- says he didn't steal anything, but the people who took her camera did so in defense of Suge's small child.
Sources connected to the rap mogul tell TMZ ... the photog was filming Suge's 4-year-old son in an alley, and when one of Katt Williams' female companions asked her to stop, she just kept shooting.
The photog -- who is legendary in L.A. for her confrontations with celebs and other photogs -- was confronted by Katt's friend and the 2 got into it. Katt's friend asked her to erase the video of the child but she refused.
Our Suge sources say the photog is a liar and her camera was NEVER stolen ... that she had it in her possession when cops came. The woman claims Katt snatched the camera.
Our law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... they believe Suge orchestrated the entire thing and that Katt was just following his orders. As for Katt, he told us he'd rather take the fall than sell out Suge.
The stakes are high ... Katt faces 7 years in prison if convicted. Suge could go to jail for the rest of his life.