12:58 PM PT -- We just spoke to Kato in Beverly Hills, and he insists he NEVER did an interview saying O.J. murdered his wife. He says he has no idea where the quotes came from, adding, "I would never say something like this."
Kato Kaelin just told TMZ ... he NEVER told the New York Post that he knows O.J. Simpson murdered his wife or that he's only coming forward now because the statute of limitations on perjury has run.
Kato says he was shocked when he read the report which quoted him as saying, "The statute of limitations has now passed ... so I can now say ... yes, he did it."
Kato tells TMZ ... he never said any of those things to reporter Cindy Adams or anyone else.
Kato says he has expressed his opinion over the years ... that he THINKS Simpson killed Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman ... but tells us, "I have no first hand knowledge."